No Notice Of Appeal Filed As Deadline Passes In Mobile Klan Trial
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ The United Klans of America has missed a deadline for appealing a $7 million judgment stemming from the death of a black teen-ager whose body was hanged from a tree, a court official says.
″The time for appeal has passed and nothing has been filed,″ Chuck Burton, deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court here, said Tuesday.
The jury made the award Feb. 12 to the mother of 19-year-old Michael Donald, who was beaten to death in March 1981. The Klan had 30 days to appeal.
Two Klan members were convicted of murder. Henry Francis Hays, 32, was sentenced to death and James ″Tiger″ Knowles, 24, was sentenced to life in prison.
Beulah Mae Donald then filed a civil rights suit against the United Klans and six current or former members.
John E. Mays, who represented the Tuscaloosa-based United Klans in the trial, hung up when questioned by telephone about an appeal Tuesday. His secretary said he would not comment.
Morris Dees, the attorney for Mrs. Donald, said after the verdict that the decision would bankrupt United Klans. While court documents say the organization has no financial assets, it owns a $100,000 building in Tuscaloosa under the name Anglo-Saxon Club.
Records in the court case show the United Klans’ estimated 2,500 members in the Southeast pay small dues to the Tuscaloosa office. The records also show the United Klans have a bank account under the name Alabama Rescue Service.
Dees is director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, which operates Klanwatch to keep tabs on racist organizations.
Klanwatch director Bill Stanton said a hearing would probably be held within 45 days to determine the extent of the group’s assets and how they can be used to satisfy the verdict. He said seizure of the building was the main concern of attorneys for Mrs. Donald.