Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ku Klux Klan Murder Shocks Bogalusa, La.

James Stokes said aside from a rebel flag he used to see hanging outside of the Foster's home, there was never a red flag that anything unusual or criminal ever happened at the house next door.

"We don't know of anything out of the ordinary with them," said Stokes. "They are pleasant people and we have never had problems with them or their children."

The news left Stokes, and the Bogalusa community, speechless that his neighbor Raymond "Chuck" Foster, and seven others--including Foster's son, Shane Foster--were arrested in the murder of a woman during a Ku Klux Klan initiation.

"We have not seen anything in the town that would suggest anything going on that is racial in nature or anything," Stokes said.

The Bogalusa mayor and police chief said that the last allegations of Klan activity were from two years ago. The police, along with the FBI, investigated that incident, but did not find any evidence of Klan activity then, nor have they in decades.

"It is really disappointing to know you could have someone in your community that could do that, it looks like he (Raymond Foster) has only been here a couple of years," said James "Mack" McGehee, the Bogalusa mayor.

But the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said the Dixie Brotherhood of the KKK was based in Bogalusa. Sheriff Jack Strain said the Oklahoma woman who was murdered was recruited and brought to Sun, La., just outside of Bogalusa, for an initiation ceremony.

"From there part of the ritual was to go on a camping trip off of Lock 3 Road," said Sheriff Strain.

It was during that trip, authorities believe sometime on Sunday, the woman and the group's leader, Raymond "Chuck" Foster, argued--perhaps because the woman wanted to leave the ceremony--and Foster shot and killed her.

Strain said the group then tried to sanitize the area and conceal the crime, burning the woman's belongings at the campsite. Authorities said an employee at a nearby Circle K helped police make arrests when some Klan members stopped in and asked how they could get blood out of their clothes.

"It is a situation that defies logic, when you think you've seen it all something like this happens," said Sheriff Strain. "This was a case where, in the woods, during some sordid ritual event, things went terribly wrong."

Sheriff Strain said the Klan leader, Raymond Foster, has a long criminal history in St. Tammany Parish and in Washington Parish. He is charged with second-degree murder. The seven other suspects are charged with obstruction of justice.

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