A woman who tried to flee a Ku Klux Klan initiation rite was shot to death by the group's leader in a remote campsite on a sandbar in the swamps of Louisiana, officials told local media.
The woman had found the Sons of Dixie group on the Internet and taken a bus down from her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma so she could be initiated into the secretive white supremacist group and then recruit others in Oklahoma.
She arrived on Friday and underwent several rites, including having her head shaved, St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain said at a press conference Tuesday.
She was then taken to the campsite that was accessible only by boat where the rituals continued, consisting mainly of lighting torches "running around in the woods," the New Orleans Times Picayune quoted Strain as saying.
At some point on Sunday evening, the woman decided she wanted to leave and got into an argument with group leader Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44 who pulled out a .40 caliber handgun and shot her.
"We believe he then rolled her over and began a process of removing the bullet from her body" with a knife, Strain told reporters as he stood before the Ku Klux Klan costumes recovered from the campsite.
"That shows you to some extent the callousness of this individual."
Foster then ordered his followers to burn the woman's belongings and dump her body by the side of a nearby road.
"It's kind of impressive for a group with a pretty small IQ to be able to cleanse that site so well," Strain told reporters.
The group was discovered after Foster's son and another member went to a local convenience store on Monday and asked the clerk how they could remove bloodstains from their clothes.
The clerk recognized the men and contacted the sheriff's office, who soon found them and then raided the campsite.
Five of the remaining Klan members were caught in the woods and Foster later turned himself in.
Strain called the group a bunch of "kooks" and said he did not believe they had posed a serious threat to the public prior to this slaying.
He said no crimes more serious than some racist graffiti had linked to white supremacists in the area.
Officials from the St. Tammany sheriff's department and district attorney's office did not immediately return calls for comment.
However, local television stations and the Times Picayune reported that Foster was charged with second degree murder and the seven others were charged with obstruction of justice.
I know I'll get some e-mails griping because I said this is a funny story. I think's it is funny because this woman wanted to be a part of a hate group, and then fell victim to that hate. It's called karma, and it's a bitch.