A former policeman in the southern U.S. state of Mississippi has been convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy in the brutal murders of two black teenagers more than 40 years ago.

A jury deliberated two hours Thursday in a federal court in Jackson, Mississippi before finding 71-year-old James Seale guilty.

Seale, who could be sentenced to life in prison, was tried for the 1964 kidnappings of Henry Dee and Charles Moore, who were both 19 at the time.

The prosecution's key witness said the two were stuffed into the trunk of a car, then thrown alive into a river with weights tied to them.

Seale and an accomplice were arrested for the crime shortly after it occurred. But local authorities later released them without a trial.

Seale was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization.

Seale was arrested in January after the brother of the one of the victims tracked him down.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.