published Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Ex-Alabama Ku Klux Klan secretary guilty of perjury in cross-burning trial

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A former Ku Klux Klan officer pleaded guilty Thursday to perjury in a case involving a cross-burning in Ozark, federal prosecutors said.

Pamela Morris, a 46-year-old former secretary for the group, admitted to lying to a federal grand jury about a cross burning in May 2009 that her son, Steven Joshua Dinkle, was involved in.

Morris lied about being involved with the group and also lied about knowing that her son burned a cross in an African-American neighborhood to try intimidating residents, officials said in a statement.

The wooden cross was about 6 feet tall and investigators have said the men draped it with a cloth and doused it with fuel before it was lit on fire May 8, 2009.

Dinkle and his co-conspirator, Thomas Smith, loaded the cross into Smith's truck and Dinkle gave him directions to the town of 15,000 about 85 miles south of Montgomery, prosecutors have said.

Morris said she lied to the court to try blocking the grand jury from learning about other Ku Klux Klan members who had information on the case. Morris' sentencing date has not been set.

Dinkle has been sentenced to two years in prison on hate-crime and obstruction-of-justice charges. Dinkle lied to investigators and said he quit the KKK before the cross-burning. Authorities have said Dinkle also gave a false alibi and denied knowing a person that was considered his superior in the group.

Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with housing rights and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 19.

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