LAKE CITY, Fla. (AP) — Two former Florida prison guards who were members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted of plotting to kill a black inmate after his release.
A Columbia County jury found David Elliot Moran, 49, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 45, guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, Attorney General Pam Bondi's office said Tuesday. No date has been set for sentencing.
The murder plot started after a third guard and Klan member, Thomas Jordan Driver, 27, was bitten during a fight with the inmate, who they believed was infected with HIV and hepatitis. Driver pleaded guilty to the same charge in March and was sentenced to four years in prison.
"These Klansmen plotted to murder a black inmate after he was released from prison, but swift action and clever investigative tactics on behalf of investigators foiled their plot and may have saved a life," Bondi said in a news release. "We will continue to work daily to ensure the KKK or any other hate-filled organization is unable to inflict violence on the citizens of our great state."
All three men were arrested in 2015 after an investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The joint investigation revealed that Newcomb, Moran and Driver enlisted an FBI informant to kill the former inmate. Recorded conversations between the three former guards and the FBI informant revealed the murder plot.
At the time of the murder conspiracy, Driver and Moran were guards at the Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in rural north Florida. Newcomb was a former correctional officer who had been fired in 2013 for failing to meet training requirements, according to department records.