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Two More Klansmen Indicted In Hanging Death Of Black Teen-Ager

August 13, 1987

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ A grand jury Wednesday indicted two more Ku Klux Klansmen in the six-year investigation into the beating and hanging death of a black teen-ager, a prosecutor said.

Indicted on murder charges were Bennie Jack Hays and his son-in-law, Frank Cox, for their alleged participation in the March 21, 1981, slaying of 19- year-old Michael Donald.

District Attorney Chris Galanos said both the 70-year-old Hays and Cox, a truck driver in his late 20s, have agreed to turn themselves in Thursday. Bond was set at $20,000.

These are the latest charges in the probe that earlier led to the conviction and death sentence of Hays’ son, Henry Hays, and a life sentence for James ″Tiger″ Knowles. The four are present or former members of the United Klans of America.

Hays and Cox, Galanos said, were charged Wednesday as accomplices in the murder based on new evidence gathered during a civil lawsuit against the United Klans of America earlier this year.

Galanos declined further comment on the Mobile County grand jury indictments.

In February, a federal court jury in Mobile awarded $7 million to Beulah Donald, mother of the slain youth. The elder Hays held the title of Klan Titan in 1981.

In March 1984, prosecutors were forced to drop murder conspiracy charges against Cox because the legal timeframe for bringing the charge had expired. However, there is no statute of limitations on murder.

During trial of the civil suit, the elder Hays termed as liars witnesses who accused him of having prior knowledge of Klan plans to kill Donald.

Donald was kidnapped from a city street and taken to a wooded area where he was beaten to death. The body was hanged in a tree in a vacant lot across the street from an apartment owned by Hays.

Cox allegedly was shown Donald’s body in the truck of a car on the night of the slaying, but he denied any knowledge of the crime.

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