Ex-KKK member charged with cross burning

Federal law enforcement officials have indicted two former members of a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) chapter in Alabama, the Justice Department announced on Friday.

Steven Joshua Dinkle allegedly constructed and burned a 6-foot cross at the entrance to a “predominantly African American neighborhood,” and his indictment lists five charges – including two counts of obstructing justice.

The federal complaint says that in May 2009, an individual and Dinkle allegedly worked together to build and burn the human-sized cross to “threaten and intimidate residents of that neighborhood and thereby interfere with their federally protected housing rights.” 

The two reportedly drove to the Johntown Road area in Ozark, Ala., doused the cross with gasoline, wrapped it in blue jeans and towels and lit it ablaze. 

Dinkle’s mother, Pamela Morris, has also been arrested after allegedly lying to the grand jury investigating the cross burning. She allegedly denied her role in the KKK – where she served as the treasurer of the Ozark, Ala. chapter – and denied her son’s involvement.

There was a local investigation of the incident in 2009 and a federal one in 2012. DOJ says that Dinkle, a former exalted cyclops of the KKK chapter, lied to both the state and federal investigators about knowing the man who was actually his superior within the organization and provided a fake alibi. 

If convicted on all counts, the 28 year old could receive up to 45 years of jail time and owe up to $750,000 in fines. Morris faces a maximum of five years in jail and a $250,000 fine for each perjury charge. 


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