KKK Leader, Mother Indicted for Perjury

Almost five years ago, a former KKK leader in Alabama and another person allegedly erected a cross and burned it in a predominately black neighborhood. Now that leader and his mother have been arrested and charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the case.

Steven Joshua Dinkle, former Exalted Cyclops of a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Ozark, Ala., was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Mississippi for burning a cross at the entrance to a predominantly African-American neighborhood and for obstructing the investigation into the offense. Pamela Morris, Dinkle’s mother and the former secretary of the KKK chapter, was arrested on Nov. 21, 2013, for committing perjury before the grand jury investigating the cross burning.

Dinkle, 28, was charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama that was unsealed on Nov. 27. The indictment charges him with one count of conspiracy to violate housing rights, one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing, one count of using fire to commit a federal felony and two counts of obstruction of justice.

The indictment alleges that on May 8, 2009, Dinkle conspired with another person to burn a cross in an African-American neighborhood to threaten and intimidate residents of that neighborhood and thereby interfere with their federally protected housing rights. Dinkle allegedly constructed a six-foot cross, wrapping jeans and a towel around it. He and his co-conspirator drove the cross to an African-American community near Johntown Road in Ozark where Dinkle poured fuel on the cross, erected it in the ground and set it on fire. The indictment further contends that Dinkle obstructed justice by lying to local investigators in 2009, and federal investigators in 2012. Dinkle claimed he had withdrawn from the KKK months before the cross burning, provided a false alibi and denied knowing a person who was, in fact, his superior in the KKK.

The grand jury returned a separate indictment against Morris, 45, charging her with two counts of perjury. The indictment alleges that Morris made multiple false statements to the grand jury investigating the cross burning when she denied her own involvement in the KKK and knowing that Dinkle was also involved.

If convicted, Dinkle could face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy and criminal-interference counts; sentence maximum of 10 years in prison for the use-of-fire; a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for obstructing justice by making false statements to local investigators; and a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for making false statements to the FBI.

It will be interesting if they can make the charge of violating housing rights stick. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in R.A.V. v St. Paul that burning a cross cannot be punished in and of itself because it is protected expression. You can be punished for trespassing, for violating fire codes, for endangering lives, etc, but not for the act itself. And in this case, even if they can’t make the burning of the cross itself stick, they should be able to make the other charges stick.

And seriously, how can you take someone seriously who refers to himself as the “Exalted Cyclops”?

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  • D. C. Sessions

    What amazes me is that someone was charged with perjury. I didn’t know they still did that.

  • colnago80

    Hey, how about the Grand Kleagle?

  • Moggie

    It seems unfair that he gets to be “Exalted Cyclops” while his mother just gets “secretary”. She should have held out for “Magnificent Nereid”

  • rabbitscribe

    He started out as a thoroughly debased cyclops and worked his way up the ladder.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Aww. Imagine him sitting there, alone, trying to clean the scratches from his monocle. There’s nothing sadder than a “former Exalted Cyclops”. What’s it got? Nothing! Why, even even a “former Uplifting Octopus” can still amuse itself by prying open clams.

  • zenlike

    And seriously, how can you take someone seriously who refers to himself as the “Exalted Cyclops”?

    Hey! Don’t disparage my WoW character!

  • Skip White

    “Exalted Cyclops?” Seriously? I mean, “Grand Wizard” or “Grand Dragon” make complete sense [/snark], but “Exalted Cyclops?” Where in the hierarchy is that, anyway?

  • Chiroptera

    Someone should write a “KKK leader generator.”

    The Pugilistic Pegasus.

    The Munificent Medusa.

    The Maniacal Minotaur (okay, this one is actually good).

    The Shameful Scylla.

    The Car-jacking Charybdis.


  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Ah!!, but count the eyes…..

  • Al Dente

    All you people making fun of the ex-Exalted Cyclops should be ashamed of yourself. Just because the poor man has only one eye is no reason to mock him.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    From the beginning Klan nomenclature has been vaguely ridiculous. What can you say about an organisation that had positions names such as Kleagle and Klokard?


  • bushrat

    Dibs on Ultimate Awesome Satyr of Coolness if that title ever comes up.

  • jnorris

    Big Dan Teague is THE EXALTED CYCLOPS!!!!!

  • Artor

    Aside from the trespassing & arson issues, wouldn’t cross-burning be considered criminal menacing? You don’t have to literally express, “I will assault you now,” to be guilty of menacing, and I don’t think there needs to be a written not left with a burning cross to deliver the message, “We gonna string us up some ni**ers!” I’m obviously not a lawyer, but I don’t see restrictions on this kind of expression as a violation of 1st Amendment protections.

  • =8)-DX

    “Exalted Cyclops” -> In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king..

  • Jordan Genso

    What I’ve always found curious is:

    Dinkle obstructed justice by lying to local investigators in 2009, and federal investigators in 2012.

    Maybe I watch too much TV, but in cop dramas it seems to me that police officers lie to suspects all the time. Is it a crime (obstruction of justice) if the suspect lies in return?

  • paulg

    Question for the legally-minded: What does an act have to accomplish to be considered terrorism? I think of terrorism as a crime causing terror in a targeted group, but that must not be the case. I’m glad he’s being charged with something, I just think the charges should be stronger. I’m thinking of a similarity to degrees of murder, where intent is factored in. The simple act of burning a cross, like burning a flag, may be protected, but the manner in which he does it doesn’t have to be, right? Or was that question specifically brought up in the case Ed cites? He didn’t burn the cross in his own backyard with his buddies, or in a private ritual in his house, he drove it to the black neighborhood for the purpose of terrorizing.

    Also, will the charge of “using fire to commit a felony” be dropped if he isn’t found guilty of the felony counts of violating housing rights? I can’t see the argument that he used fire to obstruct justice haha.

  • whheydt

    Did anyone else notice the relative ages of mother and son (45 and 28)? She would have been 17 when he was born, meaning there was a reasonable chance that she conceived him when she was 16…

  • Matt G

    @18 -When I saw the age of the son, I *immediately* wondered about the age of the mother. I wasn’t too surprised when I found out….

  • sailor1031

    Dinkle? Dinkle??

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Exalted Cyclops”

    That was the pet name a former girlfriend gave “Mr. Happytimes*” when we were sinnin’ agin’ GOD**.

    “Did anyone else notice the relative ages of mother and son (45 and 28)? She would have been 17 when he was born, meaning there was a reasonable chance that she conceived him when she was 16…’

    Or, she just had a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeealy bad taco.

    * Mr. Happytimes, ftr, was always comfortable with whatever name anybody wanted to call him by, so long as they called.

    ** Which we did ONLY to spare the kittens from being masturbaslayed. True story.

  • caseloweraz

    From Wikipedia:

    The Dens were the basic level of organization for the Reconstruction Klan. In the original prescript, its chief officer was the Grand Cyclops, who appointed two Nighthawks, a Grand Turk, a Grand Sentinel and a Grand Ensign in addition to his Grand Scribe. The Grand Cyclops, Grand Exchequer, Grand Magi (second officer) and Grand Monk (third officer) were elected by the body politic of the dens, identified as Ghouls In the second prescript the Grand Ensign is dispensed with, while the Grand Exchequer was appointed by the Grand Cyclops, who was now appointed by the Grand Giant. Only the Grand Magi and Grand Monk were elected by the Ghouls.

    Somewhere in there I expected to find an Exalted Apophis. Perhaps the “Grand Council of Yahoos” will take up the matter at their next meeting.

    “Oh, we’re meeting in the Klondike some frigid winter night.

    Don’t come inside the building unless you are lily-white…”

  • Ichthyic

    former Exalted Cyclops

    wow. somehow, that entirely fits.

  • Ichthyic

    Aside from the trespassing & arson issues, wouldn’t cross-burning be considered criminal menacing?

    seems like that to me, or as paulg notes, since there is now a huge department of homeland security devoted to pursuing acts of terrorism… why aren’t they involved with this?

    why do americans even stand for having a department of homeland security, anyway?

    it’s the single largest, most expensive, non-military government department ever created on the face of the planet. no shit.

    every american is paying a significant chunk of their annual income to maintain it.