03/22/2006

Six N.C. KKK members plead guilty in plot to kill sheriff

The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C.- Six members of a Ku Klux Klan splinter group have pleaded guilty in a plot to steal and sell guns as a way to raise money to blow up a courthouse and kill a county sheriff, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

All six pleaded guilty Monday to charges including theft of firearms and possession of stolen firearms, in return for other charges being dropped, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Goulian said. They were indicted in December.

They allegedly raised at least $1,650 by selling some stolen guns, and Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said the money was intended to finance plans that included killing him.

He said they were angry with him over their failed plans to march in a popular community festival, Benson Mule Days. A local KKK leader related to two of the defendants had invited a Klan figure from Indiana to watch them march and was embarrassed when the group was barred from the event, Bizzell said.

The charges carry up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing dates have not been set, Goulian said.

Charges against a seventh defendant are still pending, he said.

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