Leader of NC chapter of Ku Klux Klan dies

Associated Press/February 13, 2009

Mount Holly, North Carolina - The man who became leader of a Ku Klux Klan sect in North Carolina that clashed with a Communist Workers Party march in 1979, has died.

Virgil Griffin's son, James, said his 64-year-old father died Wednesday at Gaston Memorial Hospital. An employee at Woodlawn Funeral Home in Mount Holly said visitation was scheduled Friday night and Griffin's funeral would be held Saturday.

Griffin was a member of the Klan for 40 years. He became known nationally when five communist marchers were killed in a clash in Greensboro with members of the Klan. Griffin was cleared of wrongdoing in three trials, including state murder charges, federal civil rights conspiracy charges and a $48 million wrongful death lawsuit.

Griffin had maintained in interviews that the shooting in Greensboro weren't planned.

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