KKK Member Gets Ten Months For Perjury In Connection w/ Probe Into Racially Motivated Cross Burning In Alabama That Resulted In Conviction Of Two Others For Criminal Interference w/ Housing Rights Of Another
- [Last month], U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Pamela Morris, former secretary of a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Ozark, Alabama, to 10 months in prison and three years of supervised release for committing perjury during a grand jury’s investigation into a racially motivated cross-burning.
Morris, 47, previously admitted during her plea hearing on June 12, 2014, that she lied to a federal grand jury investigating a cross-burning committed by Steven Joshua Dinkle, Morris’s son and the Exalted Cyclops (president) of the local KKK, and Thomas Smith, another KKK member. On May 8, 2009, Dinkle and Smith burned a six-foot tall cross at the entrance to an African American neighborhood in Ozark to threaten and intimidate residents.
Several witnesses observed and were frightened by the cross, including a young man returning from choir practice as the defendants set the cross ablaze. In sworn testimony before the grand jury, Morris made several false statements, including denying that she had been the secretary of the Klan or involved with the KKK at all.
In pleading guilty, Morris admitted that she had been an officer of the KKK and that her testimony denying any connection to the organization was false. She further acknowledged that she knew Dinkle had committed the cross-burning. In addition, Morris admitted that she testified falsely to prevent the grand jury from learning about other KKK members who had information relevant to the investigation.
Dinkle is currently serving a 24-month sentence imposed on May 15, 2014, for his conviction on hate-crime and obstruction-of-justice charges related to the cross-burning.(1) Smith, Dinkle’s co-conspirator, was sentenced to five years of probation on Aug. 19, 2014.
Go here for links to other cross burning incidents from the U.S. Justice Department.
(1) Former Alabama KKK Leader Sentenced to Prison for Cross Burning and Obstruction of Justice:
- Dinkle pleaded guilty to hate crime and obstruction of justice charges related to the cross burning. Specifically, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and two counts of obstruction of justice.
Dinkle admitted that in burning the cross, he intended to scare and intimidate residents of the African-American community by threatening the use of force against them. He further admitted that he burned the cross because of the victims’ race and color and because they were occupying homes in that area.