In 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Mississippi of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. In 2002, Thomas Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry were convicted in Alabama in the 1963 murder of four black girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. In 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted in Mississippi in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.
Last month, the Justice Department brought kidnapping and conspiracy charges against James Ford Seale, 71, in the 1964 abductions and slayings of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. A trial is scheduled for April.
The grand jury's decision not to bring an indictment in the Till case was made Friday but became public Tuesday -- the same day the Justice Department held a news conference in Washington to announce that it had reopened investigations into about a dozen unsolved civil rights-era slayings.
"Much time has passed on these crimes," Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales told reporters. "The wounds they left are deep, and many of them still have not healed.... To those individuals who committed these crimes, and who have lived with their guilty consciences for these many years, our message should be clear: You have not gotten away with anything. We are still on your trail."
With the trail in the Till case as cold as ever, some of his family members say they would prefer truth more than payback.
Marvel Parker, 60, of Summit, Ill., is the wife of Wheeler Parker, a cousin of Till's who was with him at the Mississippi store. He is now hospitalized after a stroke.
His wife said they would prefer to see Carolyn Bryant Donham receive immunity in exchange for telling her story.
"Mrs. Bryant is still alive, and her husband admitted that he did it," Marvel Parker said. "We don't want her to go to jail.... But you don't have to be a Rhodes scholar to know that she knows something."