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50 years later, a man wants answers in a racially-charged killing

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Updated: 1/20 6:55 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's been 50 years since Shelton's Chappell's mother, Johnnie Mae Chappell, was killed in a drive-by shooting because she was black. She dropped her wallet after a trip to the store to buy ice cream and had come back to find it in a path off of what is now New Kings Road when she was gunned down.

Shelton was just four months old when it happened and doesn't remember anything about his mother. Anything he knows about her comes from one of his nine siblings.

The alleged killers were arrested at the time but released. One of the four men served three years in prison but charges were dropped for the other three. Shelton says two white police officers who arrested them were fired for it. Shelton says one of them came to him in 1996 telling the Chappell family the truth, which is all he's asked for all along.

In 2003, the Chappell family sued the accused killers and Jacksonville police for a cover-up. They tried to go all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, but no one would hear the case. Shelton still has an attorney and is working to get justice for his mother. He doesn't trust that one of the men actually served prison time.

The shooting didn't just end Johnnie Mae's life but affected her 10 children. At two years old, Shelton remembers being taken away from his father and he was eventually sent to 10 foster homes.

The only picture Shelton has of his mother is her dead body in the morgue, with his father standing over her. Shelton now speaks across the country about the subject and civil rights, and he says the FBI has left the case open for investigation.

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