A Ku Klux Klan leader in North Carolina, who once boasted about building a 50-pound bomb to kill a local sheriff, will spend 15 years in federal prison after a 12-year pursuit by prosecutors.
Charles Robert “Junior” Barefoot Jr., 50, of Benson, N.C., was sentenced Wednesday in Raleigh by U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle. Barefoot, who headed a klavern of the Church of the National Knights of the KKK, was convicted in September on six counts of weapons and explosives violations.
The federal charges were related to a plan – its roots going back to 2001 – to kill Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. The federal charges were filed after a state judge ruled in 2007 that Barefoot was mentally incompetent to stand trial for his involvement in the 2001 murder of a fellow Klan member.
Barefoot’s threat to kill the Johnson County sheriff developed after he successfully blocked an attempt by Barefoot and 100 Klansmen from five states to march in the 2001 “Mule Days” parade in Benson, N.C. Barefoot also blamed the sheriff for causing the financial collapse of a honky-tonk bar, the Enchanted Barn, that Barefoot and his wife operated for a time.
“I'll have his head,” Barefoot allegedly said, claiming he had a "50-pound bomb" he was saving "for the sheriff's office."
About that time, authorities later learned, Barefoot bought a cartload of black powder and started making pipe bombs. Later, he traded one of his prized hunting dogs for a more powerful liquid explosive. Authorities said Barefoot, a vinyl-siding contractor and truck driver, allegedly instructed his son to plant a bomb outside the Johnson County sheriff’s office if the elder Barefoot was ever arrested.
Barefoot later got involved in buying and selling stolen firearms, the Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald reported in today’s editions.