Federal Judge Sentences Talladega County Man to Six Years in Prison for Attempting to Hire KKK to Kill Neighbor
BIRMINGHAM -- A federal judge today sentenced a Talladega County man to six years in prison for attempting to hire a member of the Ku Klux Klan to murder an African-American neighbor he suspected of raping his wife, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Jocelyn Samuels, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced ALLEN WAYNE DENSEN MORGAN, 30, of Munford, on one count of using and causing someone else to use interstate facilities and travel -- a telephone and a motor vehicle -- with the intent to commit a murder-for hire. He must serve three years of supervised release following completion of his prison term. Morgan pleaded guilty to the charge in October. Federal officials arrested him in August after he told FBI agents posing as members of the KKK that he would pay them to murder his neighbor. Morgan admitted he offered a watch, a necklace and a gun as payment for the murder and gave explicit details for the man's torture and murder.
“The defendant attempted to have his neighbor tortured and murdered by the KKK,” Samuels said. “Today’s sentence demonstrates that the Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute those who act on their racial hatred by seeking to inflict such acts of violence on others.”
"Mr. Morgan detailed his calculated desire to end his neighbor's life through the most brutal and heinous means," Vance said. "Today's sentence reinforces that vigilantism is not acceptable in our society and we will prosecute that crime."
“The gruesome crime Morgan envisioned and plotted was designed to terrify and intimidate," Schwein said. "Thanks to outstanding investigative and undercover work he was not able to carry out his plan, and today pays the price for that crime.”
The government's sentencing memorandum refers to the detailed recorded instructions Morgan gave to undercover agents on how he wanted the murder carried out. Morgan's plot to have his neighbor killed "was no idle threat," according to the memorandum. "He fully intended to seek revenge against his neighbor by hanging, mutilation, and evisceration."
The government recommended Morgan receive the maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. He has had numerous encounters with law enforcement, including convictions for possession of cocaine and opiates, disorderly conduct, false reporting to law enforcement, purchase of more than six grams of Ephedrine and possessing marijuana, according to the sentencing memorandum. The minimum sentence calculated according to federal sentencing guidelines for the murder-for-hire conviction and Morgan's criminal history was above the 10-year statutory maximum. Morgan's case calls for the maximum statutory penalty, the government argued, "There can be no allowance for vigilantism provoked either by real or imagined injuries."
Morgan's efforts to arrange the paid murder of his neighbor unfolded as follows, according to his plea:
Morgan talked to an undercover FBI agent by telephone on Aug. 22, who identified himself as a KKK member. The men arranged to meet three days later at an Oxford motel to discuss payment for the murder. In that phone conversation, Morgan used a racial slur to describe the man he wanted killed and bragged that he had just fired several shots toward the man to intimidate him. Morgan also detailed how he wanted the man "hung from a tree like a deer and gutted," to have body parts cut off, and to "die a slow, painful death."
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pat Meadows and John B. Felton of the Northern District of Alabama and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney David Reese prosecuted the case.
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