A "sordid chapter" in Alabama history ended when four former Ku Klux Klansmen pleaded guilty for their part in a decade-old clash with black marchers that wounded nine people, U.S. District Judge John Hancock said.
The four were the last of nine former Klansmen who were indicted and eventually pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the gunfire that turned the Decatur parade route into a racial battleground.No one was killed in the May 26, 1979, confrontation. Five police officers, two marchers and two Klansmen were wounded.
The Klansmen were trying to block a Southern Christian Leadership Conference march protesting the prosecution of a mentally retarded black man charged with raping a white woman in Decatur.
Ray Winford Steele and William Riccio pleaded guilty Monday to felony obstruction of justice, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and a misdemeanor count of conspiring to violate civil rights.
William Johnny Mason and Lynwood White pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one year prison term and $1,000 fine.