LAKE CITY, Florida — A pair of Florida prison guards who were secretly members of the KKK have been convicted of plotting to murder a black inmate after his release.
Prosecutors said the plot dated back to 2015, when David Elliot Moran, 49, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 45, and a third guard who had previously pleaded guilty, tried to enlist the help of an FBI informant to kill the inmate.
The men were infuriated by the inmate after he bit the third guard, Thomas Jordan Driver, 27, who, like the others, is a member of the Traditionalist American Knights branch of the Ku Klux Klan, during a fight. The three guards believed the prisoner was infected with HIV and hepatitis.
One version of the plot involved injecting the inmate with insulin and then forcing him face down into a river with a fishing pole in his hand to make it look an accident. Another involved shooting him and chopping his body into pieces.
But the scheme was quickly foiled after recorded conversations between the three former guards and the FBI informant revealed the murder plot.
“These Klansmen plotted to murder a black inmate after he was released from prison, but swift action and clever investigative tactics on behalf of investigators foiled their plot and may have saved a life,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said.
At the time of the murder conspiracy, Driver and Moran were guards at the Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in rural north Florida. Newcomb was a former correctional officer who had been fired in 2013 for failing to meet training requirements.
Driver pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder in March and was sentenced to four years in prison.
The head of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Frank Ancona was shot and killed in Missouri earlier this year and his body dumped by a river. His wife and son-in-law have been charged in his death.