Family Values

Indiana Klan leader slain by abused wife

Although he rose to become the Indiana leader of the Invisible Empire, Pennsylvania Ku Klux Klan, the life of Al Ferris — and even his career as a Ku Klux Klansman — was rather nondescript.

Unfortunately for Ferris, he gained greater attention in death than he did in life, after he was gunned down by his wife during a heated July 8 domestic fight.

Sandy Ferris had suffered a history of abuse at the hands of her husband and had often sought refuge with other Klansmen. Eventually, Al Ferris' behavior became too much even for his colleagues in the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a group to which he belonged before the Invisible Empire Knights.

American Knights chief Jeff Berry booted him out of that group, propelling him into the arms of the Pennsylvania Klan group headed by Ed Foster — a brutal man who served time for the gang rape of a college student.

"He died because he's a moral person and had high moral values," Foster decreed after the death of his "best friend," calling the killing "an American tragedy."

A grand jury, noting that both Ferrises were armed at the time of the killing, declined to indict Sandy Ferris. Prosecutors agreed that the shooting was self-defense.

Now, life goes on without Al Ferris. Before a Klan rally in late July, Richard Smith — an Invisible Empire leader who also happens to be Sandy Ferris' brother — had this to say about the impact of Al Ferris' death on the Klan's rally plans: "It doesn't affect it a bit."