KKK initiation ends with recruit's murder

St. Tammany News, Louisiana/November 11, 2008

Eight Klu Klux Klan members from the Bogalusa area were arrested Tuesday after allegedly killing a Tulsa, Okla., woman during an initiation ritual in a remote northern St. Tammany Parish campsite, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office officials said.

The woman, whose name was not released as of deadline Tuesday, was shot to death. Her body was found stashed under loose brush near the end of Lock 3 Road, a rural road along the Pearl River in Sun, Sheriff's Office spokesman George Bonnett said.

Officials say the woman, recruited over the Internet by the Sons of Dixie Brotherhood chapter of the KKK, came to St. Tammany by bus to be initiated, expecting to return to Oklahoma and start recruiting other Klansmen in the Midwest.

She first arrived in Slidell, where she met two of the Klan members arrested. She was then taken to the campsite, surrounded by woods and bayous, for initiation.

Then, sometime Sunday, she made a fatal mistake, Bonnett said. She asked to be taken back to Slidell.

A fight erupted that investigators say led the group's ringleader, 44-year-old Raymond Chuck Foster of Bogalusa, to pull the trigger.

In an effort to conceal the crime, several of the group's members burned the victim's personal items, including a purse, and tried to clean up the crime scene before they split up.

Sheriff Jack Strain, speaking at a press conference Tuesday, said Foster even pulled the bullet, shot from a .40 caliber hand gun from the woman's body.

"What was odd about this was the extent they went to cover it up," Strain said. "To the degree they scrubbed the area was pretty impressive for a group with such a small IQ."

Strain said the crime was discovered after two people went into the Circle K store on Louisiana Highway 21 near Bogalusa about 4 a.m. Monday and asked how to get blood out of clothing. The clerk called the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office, and that department initiated an investigation.

Foster, hiding alone in the woods, was contacted via cell phone and agreed to surrender after five other group members, also hiding in another section of the woods, agreed to turn themselves in to authorities.

The five members traveled by boat to the Lock 3 boat launch and were taken into custody without incident.

Foster, meanwhile, was arrested when members of the marine division from the St. Tammany and Washington parish sheriff's offices drove to his location by boat and took him into custody.

Foster was booked into St. Tammany Parish Jail on a charge of second-degree murder, a charge that, if convicted, carries a life sentence. No bond was set.

Also arrested were Shane Foster, 20, Frank Stafford, 21, Timothy Michael Watkins, 31, Alicia Watkins, 23, Andrew Yates, 20, Random Hines, 27, and Danielle Jones, 23, all of the Bogalusa area.

Each was charged with obstruction of justice and were being held as of Tuesday afternoon in lieu of $500,000 bonds.

Although no more arrests are expected, Bonnett refused to release the caliber of the gun, where the woman was shot or how many times she was shot because the investigation is ongoing, he said.

Raymond Clark Foster is no stranger to law enforcement. Strain said he has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to the 1980s that includes a conviction for manslaughter, among other crimes.

Shane Foster, Strain said, is his son.

"To not only murder someone in cold blood, but to enlist the help of your son to cover it up shows how heinous this individual is," Strain said.

The sheriff said the investigation is continuing, and he isn't sure yet the extent of the KKK in the area.

"This is the most elaborate role I've seen of any KKK group (in his 30-plus years of law enforcement experience)," Strain said. "We don't know yet how much is pageantry and how much of this is power. It's still to be seen."

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