Former KKK Leader Pleads Guilty To Cross Burning

Steven Joshua Dinkle, a 28-year-old described by prosecutors as a “former Exalted Cyclops of the Ozark, Ala., chapter of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” pleaded guilty Monday to hate crime and obstruction of justice charges for his role in a 2009 cross burning.

Court documents said Dinkle and another KKK member “constructed a six-foot cross, wrapping jeans and a towel around it,” and lit it on fire near an African-American community. According to a statement from the Department of Justice, he initially “falsely denied his involvement in the incident and stated that he had resigned his office and withdrawn from the KKK months before the cross burning.”

The DOJ statement said Dinkle “faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine on the conspiracy and criminal interference counts and a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 maximum fine for obstructing justice by making false statements to both local investigators and federal agents.” His sentencing has not been scheduled.

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Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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