Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution has secured the conviction of two members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for conspiracy to commit first degree murder. A Columbia County jury found David Elliot Moran, 49, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 45, guilty of one count each for plotting to kill a former inmate.
The convicted were arrested in 2015 along with defendant Thomas Jordan Driver, 27, following an investigation by members of the North Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigation, with assistance from additional federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The joint investigation revealed that Newcomb, Moran and Driver enlisted an FBI informant to kill a former inmate as retaliation for a fight between the former inmate and Driver. The murder plot was captured on recorded conversations between the three subjects and the FBI informant.
At the time of the murder conspiracy, Driver and Moran were correctional officers for the Florida Department of Corrections, and Newcomb was a former correctional officer. In March 2017, Driver pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder 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,” said Attorney General Bondi. “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.”
“This case would not have been possible without the collaboration of our partnering law enforcement agencies,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “We commend the members of the North Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (NFJTTF) who combined their talents, skills, and knowledge to work as a cohesive team and successfully disrupt this conspiracy.”
“These men had positions of trust, which they violated when they conspired to kill a former inmate, and we worked closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure they are held accountable for their crimes,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution prosecuted the case. Members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force that participated in the investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation Jacksonville Division, Homeland Security Investigations, Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.