Dazed and Confused

By Christopher Zoukis

The Mississippi Supreme Court decided not to decide whether Delay could be tried again or not until after he was tried.  The decision was a stroke of genius.  For if Delay was acquitted, there was nothing to decide.  If he was convicted, he could appeal.  If Delay appealed, the court would merely say a murder case that has been dismissed could be retried in good faith, because there was no statute of limitations on murder.   Image courtesy usatoday30.usatoday.com

Delay spent a lot of time shopping for a lawyer.  In the end, he decided on Buddy Coxwell and Jim Kitchens as his defense team.  The prosecutors were Bobby Delaughter and Ed Peters.

The prosecution introduced new evidence, which was that Delay had boasted of killing Medgar Evers to many people over the course of the last three decades.  Klansman Delmar Dennis took the stand and told the jury how Delay had bragged about killing Evers thirty years before.  They also introduced Delay’s admission to the nurse’s aide in prison, that he had killed Evers.  And they linked Delay to the letter published in “The Hoskins Report.”

Déjà vu.  The letter was back. 

The background page of the Anti-Defamation League’s website states that “Hoskins’s writings drew public attention in October 1991, when prosecutors in Mississippi linked white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith to the Phineas Priesthood.”

In other words, for the first time, the general public became aware of the existence of a cluster of violent religious bigots, who killed “for God’s sake.”  

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Things Change

By Christopher Zoukis

In his book, Hoskins introduced the concept of the Phineas Priesthood, which was that “lone warriors” or vigilantes would appear in history every so often.  These warrior-priests were sent by God to punish “race traitors.”  This punishment was necessary to protect the honor of God and His chosen people, who were, of course, white.  

As Hoskins made very clear in his book, the Phineas Priesthood was an exclusive clergy.  The only way in was by annihilating the enemies of God.  God’s enemies were defined as blacks, race-mixers, Jews, homosexuals, and abortionists.  Any white supremacist who destroyed these enemies was automatically ordained into the Phineas Priesthood.

The book went on to provide historical examples of such lone-warriors:  John Wilkes Booth, the Waffen SS, the Ku Klux Klan and The Order, which was also known as The Silent Brotherhood.  According to Hoskins, the common dominant trait of these men was a passion to excel – to protect the Honor of God.  And in doing so, they had espoused the doctrine of the Phineas Priesthood.  A doctrine understood by a chosen few.  Image courtesy amazon.com

Obviously, Delay had read Hoskins’ book, because he now claimed – after the fact – that in murdering Medgar Evers, he had been functioning as a Phineas Priest.  In other words, Medgar Evers’ death was God’s Will. And when Delay – acting as a Phineas Priest – killed Evers, he was removing one of God’s enemies.  Anyway, that’s what Delay wanted people to think.  In reality, it was nothing more than a lame and abject attempt to justify murder. 

Delay and Hoskins were kindred souls and began corresponding with each other.             

Hoskins published a regular newsletter called “The Hoskins Report.”  Supposedly, the newsletter provided financial and investment advice.  In reality, it trumpeted racist propaganda.  In a 1991 issue of the newsletter, Hoskins printed a letter he had received from Delay, who was still famous in white supremacist circles.  At the end of the letter, Delay had written “Phineas for president!”

The letter would come back to haunt Delay.

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Not So Fast

By Christopher Zoukis Delay was driving his car across the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway Bridge, when – as if by magic – a police car slid in behind his vehicle.  Delay didn’t think anything of it until he noticed lights flashing in his rearview mirror.  Out of options, Delay pulled over and stopped.  New Orleans police […]

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Chatty Cathy

By Christopher Zoukis

Delay, along  with his Klansmen, agitated against the Jews and lobbied to have flouride removed from drinking water.  Delay believed flouridated water was a Jewish plot to weaken the white race.  He also held that The Holocaust was a giant hoax and urged carpet-bombing Israel.  Image courtesy irrationalgames.com

He began bragging at KKK rallies about how he had killed Medgar Evers.  A fellow Klansman, whose name was Delmar Dennis, was one of those who overheard Delay crowing over the deed.  Delay exhorted his fellow Klansmen to kill anyone “from the President on down.”  Then Delay bragged about “killing that n*****,” an act he compared to childbirth.   

Thirty years later, Delmar Dennis would remember Delay’s gloating words.  And when he did, the jury would not be all male and all white.  There would be no sympathetic judge sitting on the bench. 

Delay was now famous in Mississippi.  His fame went to his head and in 1967 Delay sought to capitalize on his notoriety.  He believed his celebrity would translate into votes for a white candidate.  So he sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.  A month before the primaries Delay agreed to an interview with the Review.  Among his “chief qualifications” Delay said was that he “was conscious of a diabolical international conspiracy against states’ rights and racial integrity.”

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Dupes

By Christopher Zoukis

At the second trial, the former governor of Mississippi – Ross Barnett – interrupted a witness’s testimony.  The witness was Myrlie Evers, the wife of Medgar Evers.  Governor Barnett walked into the courtroom, looked around, and then walked over to Delay and shook his hand. 

The implication of the governor’s act was clear to everyone:  White people in the state of Mississippi were rooting for Delay.  Sam Bowers / Image courtesy kukluxklan.net

In both trials, the all-white juries refused to convict a white man for the murder of a black man.  Delay’s alibi – that police officers had seen him at a gas station back home in Greenwood right after the ambush of Evers – gave the juries the excuse they needed.  Sufficient doubt, which resulted in deadlock.  Because there was no verdict in either trial, both trials ended in mistrials. 

After the second mistrial, Delay felt doubly confident, even arrogant.  He officially joined the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was the most violent cadre of the Klan.  The mission of the White Knights was to stop talking and start doing.  Delay became good friends with Sam Bowers, who was the Imperial Wizard of the White Knights.  Bowers wasn’t like most Klansmen, who were pretty much the missing link, ignorant, brutal Neanderthals who didn’t know shit and hated anyone who wasn’t exactly like them.  Bowers came from Southern aristocracy and had attended the University of Southern California and Tulane University.  In other words, he was educated. 

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‘Delay’

By Christopher Zoukis His name was Byron de la Beckwith, but his friends called him “Delay.”  A descendant of Southern aristocracy, Byron de la Beckwith was born in Colusa, California in 1920.  Delay was only 5 when his father died.  The official cause of death was listed as “pneumonia and alcoholism.”  After the funeral, Delay’s […]

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