KKK leader sentenced for stealing guns, plotting to kill sheriff

JOHNSTON COUNTY - A leader of a North Carolina chapter of the Ku Kux Klan was sentenced to prison Wednesday, for stealing weapons and plotting to kill the Johnston County sheriff.

A judge ordered 50-year-old Charles Robert Barefoot, Jr., of Benson, to 15 years behind bars. In addition, Barefoot will be on probation for three years following his release.

According to prosecutors, three members of Barefoot's Klan group, including Barefoot's son, who was 17 at the time, stole more than 30 firearms from a residential property in Benson in Oct. 2001. Barefoot then gave the guns to the leader of a KKK group in Lumberton, who sold the weapons and shared the profit with Barefoot.

Prosecutors said Barefoot also plotted to kill Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. According to investigators, Barefoot blamed the sheriff for the failure of his nightclub, The Enchanted Barn. Barefoot also blamed the sheriff for not allowing the KKK to march at the Sept. 2001 Mule Days Parade in Benson, investigators said.

Barefoot began building pipe bombs and got hold of binary explosive that he stored at a freezer in his home, prosecutors said. Barefoot reportedly told another Klansman that he planned to travel down the Neuse River on a boat until he gets to Smithfield, then plant a bomb at the sheriff's office. But there was no evidence that the plan was even attempted, prosecutors said.

Barefoot was convicted on Sept. 25, 2012 of conspiracy to possess stolen firearms, possession of stolen firearms, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, receipt of explosives with intent to kill, illegal storage of explosive materials, and distribution of explosive materials to an individual under the age of 21.

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