Florida Corrections Workers Were Members of KKK, Planned to Kill Black Inmate: FBI

Ku Klux Klan members in Florida in 1992 Tom Kidd/REX/Newscom

Updated | Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Thursday morning that three members of the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization, were arrested for plotting the murder of an African-American man. The man is a former inmate and was not identified by authorities. According to an affidavit for arrest warrant provided to Newsweek by the circuit court of Columbia County, the trio is charged with conspiring to commit murder between December 6 and March 23.

Two of the men, Thomas Jordan Driver and David Elliot Moran worked for the Florida Department of Corrections. The third man, Charles Thomas Newcomb, was a former employee of the same facility.

According to authorities, the men are believed to be members of the Traditionalist American Knights, a faction of the KKK. A confidential source who worked with the FBI attended a KKK meeting with three men. Moran is described as a member of the KKK, whereas Newcomb holds the title "Exalted Cyclops." According to the KKK handbook referenced in the arrest warrant, an Exalted Cyclops is the "supreme officier of the Klavern and its official head." The Exalted Cyclops reports to the Great Titan, Grand Dragon and Imperial Wizard of the KKK, other high ranking positions in the hate group.

"We will never tolerate nor will we remain silent on this kind of hate and prejuidice," the Attorney General said of the Klan's activity in Florida.

The Klan did not reply to multiple requests for comment on the matter.

Bondi said the murder plot was in "retaliation for a fight between the inmate...and Driver." According to the arrest warrant, Driver told the FBI's confidential source he wanted to see the inmate "six feet under" after a physical altercation.

According to the affidavit, Newcomb told the informant he thought the inmate had assaulted Driver and tried to murder him. Newcomb also implied the inmate "was trying to pass his disease to Driver." In a recorded conversation, the men speculate on which diseases they think the inmate has, though their speculations are not based in fact.

According to the complaint, the men considered throwing the former inmate in a river to kill him and staging the scene to look like a fishing trip or shooting him with a 9mm gun. "At one point, they planned on killing him by injecting him in the neck with insulin," Bondi said in a conference call with reporters.

In mid March, the FBI provided the confidential source "a cellular telephone which contained a photograph enhanced by the FBI which portrayed [the former inmate] had been shot to death." Bondi described the staged photograph as a "brutal homicide scene." The informant then showed this photograph to Newcomb, Moran and Driver. "Oh, shit, I love it. That fucking [expletive] pissed on himself. Good fucking [inaudible], good job," Moran said when he saw the photograph. Driver laughed when he saw the enhanced photo and answered "very much so" when asked if he was happy with it.

The Attorney General explained the photograph was staged. By creating the photograph and recording the men's reactions to it, the state hopes to build a stronger case against the suspects.

The FBI arrested those involved. The case will be prosecuted in Columbia County, Florida. They are facing thirty years in Florida state prison. Bondi said the case is a "pending criminal investigation."

Florida Corrections Workers Were Members of KKK, Planned to Kill Black Inmate: FBI | U.S.