KKK robe, hoods seized

Tulsa World/September 3, 2000

Police recovered a "KKK robe," a white cone-shaped hood and a black full-face hood from the residence of a 20-year-old Tulsan who is charged in the widespread vandalism of a Jewish cemetery section, records show. Officers also seized "two drawings depicting KKK white supremacist ties," a Polaroid picture of a Klansman and a black jersey bearing swastikas from the home of Jonathan Brian Duke, according to documents filed Friday in Tulsa County District court.

Duke and Dillon Bell, 18, were each charged Wednesday with one felony and 90 misdemeanors stemming from Aug. 25 damage to Jewish gravestones at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Tulsa.

Along with a felony charge of malicious injury to property, Duke and Bell are charged jointly with 89 counts of injuring a grave- stone or monument and one count of malicious intimidation and haras- sment based on religion, ancestry and national origin.

They were arrested on cemetery grounds and remain in the Tulsa Jail. Both defendants face a public-intoxication charge, and Duke alone is accused of resisting arrest.

At Rose Hill, police noticed that headstones displaying the Star of David had been pushed over, while "neighboring stones, which did not display the symbol, had been left untouched," said an affidavit by Police Sgt. Van Ellis.

Duke has the word "white" tattooed on his left bicep, "power" tattooed on his right bicep, and a flaming swastika on his chest, records show. After his arrest, his sister said Duke had a "good heart" and he had never belonged to a white gang or the Ku Klux Klan.

A Tulsa judge approved a warrant on Aug. 26 allowing officers to enter Duke's home to search for items displaying or promoting the philosophy of white supremacists -- which would include the Ku Klux Klan -- or any group that promotes harassment or intimidation of another due to race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin. The judge limited the search to Duke's bedroom unless items were in plain view at the residence, records show.

Police seized a brown paper sack that contained the KKK robe, cone hood and full-face hood, according to a court record filed Friday. It did not pinpoint specifically where in the house those items were located. Police also searched Bell's residence, where a .22-caliber pistol and bullets were seized. No items linked to white-supremacy beliefs were recovered in that search, records indicate.

Only seven weeks before Duke was arrested at the cemetery, and District Judge Linda Morrissey had put him on probation for five years for auto burglary.

He originally was charged with 12 counts of auto burglary, involving allegations that he burglarized 12 different vehicles on March 17 and 18. As part of a plea bargain with the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, 11 counts were dismissed against Duke on May 1 and he pleaded guilty to the only count remaining.

In a background report compiled in that case, Duke said he had "never been a member of a gang" and was simply "proud of my own race."

"The tattoos are a personal belief, and I was never a member of the skinheads" or any other Aryan group, he told a Department of Corrections probation and parole officer.

As a child, he experienced illnesses and hip ailments that caused him to limp, which prompted a lot of ridicule from other children. He said he reacted to the ridicule as any child would and tried to "beat up anyone who teased me," the report said.

Duke said he experienced problems with black children while in school, and recalled an instance where "I was jumped by three of them" who were "much older than I was" en route to a bus stop. He said it was "so nice to see them coward down" when he got off the bus the next day accompanied by older male relatives, the report said. Duke appeared to have a "substantial drug addiction problem" and was a "borderline candidate for probation," according to the report filed prior to his July 7 sentencing.

Morrissey withheld any finding of guilt and imposed no prison time. She granted a deferred sentence under which Duke could have had the remaining auto burglary count dismissed if he successfully completed a five-year probation.

While awaiting sentencing in that case, Duke was charged June 30 with two misdemeanors -- malicious injury to property and assault and battery. He is charged with hitting a man with a paint ball fired from a sling shot in June and also with firing paint balls that struck a house and car owned by another man.

In July 21 requests for protective orders against Duke, both men listed as victims in the misdemeanor case maintained that Duke had repeatedly vandalized their property since December 1999.

One man said that an anti-gay slur was spray-painted on his resid- ence on Christmas Day. He asserted that Duke shouted a threatening, anti-gay slur on the night of the paint ball episode, and the other man indicated that Duke repeatedly shouted death threats before being arrested after police were summoned, records show.

A judge issued protective orders to both men against Duke, although court documents indicate that one of those orders was dismissed Aug. 16 because one of the plaintiffs was not present in court for a hearing.

In the Rose Hill cemetery case, U.S. Attorney Steve Lewis said Thursday that the possibility of filing federal hate crime charges is being investigated. The state misdemeanor charge outlawing intimidation based on religion, ancestry and national origin carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A federal civil rights criminal statute that is being examined carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison upon conviction,

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