Former Alabama KKK Leader Gets Prison Time For Cross Burning

A former “Exalted Cyclops” of the Ku Klux Klan, who was arrested along with his mother last year in connection to a 2009 cross burning in Ozark, Ala., was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the incident.

Steven Dinkle, 28, pleaded guilty in February to hate crime and obstruction of justice charges. Prosecutors had accused Dinkle and one of his KKK recruits, Thomas Smith, of building a six-foot wooden cross, driving it to a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Ozark, and setting it on fire in view of several homes.

The Justice Department has described Dinkle as a former Exalted Cyclops of the Ozark chapter of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Dinkle’s co-conspirator, Smith, has also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced in August. Dinkle’s mother, Pamela Morris, is facing two counts of perjury in connection to the investigation of the cross burning. The Justice Department has described her as “the former secretary of the KKK chapter.” Her trial is set for August.

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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