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A former correctional officer with ties to the Ku Klux Klan will not receive state retirement benefits after being convicted of plotting to kill a black former inmate, the state of Florida ruled last week.
David Moran, a former correctional officer at the Florida Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center at Lake Butler, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in 2017, along with Charles Newcomb, a former correctional officer, according to The Washington Post. A third man, fellow correctional officer Thomas Driver, was also involved in the plot.
The trio unknowingly tried to enlist an FBI informant to kill a black former inmate after the man, who they believed may have had HIV and Hepatitis C, bit Driver during a fight, News One reports. All three men were members of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, according to The Post.
Following Moran’s 2017 conviction, Florida’s State Board of Administration informed him that he would be required to forfeit his benefits because of the conviction, prompting Moran to request an administrative hearing, claiming there was no connection between his job and the crime he was convicted of, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.
Administrative Law Judge Hetal Desai disagreed with Moran’s claim and in May, recommended that the SBA issue a final order that Moran should forfeit all of his rights and benefits in his Florida Retirement System Investment Plan account, save what he’d already contributed, according to Politico. The SBA agreed and issued an order upholding Desai’s recommendation last week, the Herald-Tribune reported on Friday.
“It might have been difficult for petitioner and his co-conspirators to carry out a murder or attempted murder of an inmate at the correctional facility at which they worked or had worked,” the SBA’s order reportedly read, according to the Herald-Tribune. “However, just because the conspiracy to commit murder occurred off the employer’s premises, does not mean that forfeiture (of benefits) would not be appropriate.”
It continued, “There have been numerous cases that have found a sufficient nexus between the crime and public employment to require forfeiture where the specified offense did not occur at the public employee’s actual place of employment.”
Moran and Newcomb both pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, News4Jax reports. Driver pleaded guilty, News One reports. Moran and Newcomb were sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2017, while Driver was sentenced to four, according to WCJB-20, an ABC station out of Gainesville, Florida.
[Photo: Alachua County Jail]