Murder charge after woman dies at Ku Klux Klan-style initiation
* Dan Glaister
* Thursday November 13 2008
A member of a group linked to the Ku Klux Klan has been charged with murder following the death of an Oklahoma woman who was recruited via the internet, but subsequently tried to leave an initiation ceremony.
Police in Louisiana arrested the man, Raymond “Chuck” Foster, 44, and charged him with second-degree murder after finding the unidentified woman’s body in a remote area 60 miles north of New Orleans. Seven accomplices were arrested, five of them on charges of obstruction of justice.
According to the St Tammany parish sheriff’s department, the woman was shot in the head after saying she wanted to leave the ceremony. She had responded to a website asking for new recruits to the Dixie Brotherhood, also known as the Sons of Dixie, a previously unknown group.
The woman travelled from Oklahoma to Louisiana to meet the group. Her aim was to return to Oklahoma to recruit new members, police said. After several rituals, including a head-shaving, the woman went with eight others to a remote sand-bar campsite.
The initiation ceremony, a police spokesman said, principally involved lighting torches and “running around in the woods”.
But at some point the woman decided she wanted to leave, leading to an argument with Foster, during which he pushed her down and shot her with a .40-caliber handgun, police said.
Members of the group set fire to the woman’s belongings before dumping her body under brush several miles away.
However, authorities were alerted after Foster’s son and another member of the group went to a supermarket in the town of Bogalusa and asked how they could remove bloodstains from their clothes. The shop assistant recognised them and called police, who went to the scene and found five members of the group in the woods.
“The IQ level of this group is not impressive, to be kind,” Sheriff Jack Strain told a news conference, adding, “I can’t imagine anyone feeling endangered or at risk by any one of these kooks.”
Weapons, Ku Klux Klan flags, five white Klan uniforms and a black “imperial wizard” uniform were found at the campsite.