PEARL, Mississippi (AP) — A black man accused of stabbing an outspoken white supremacist to death in Mississippi said Monday he didn’t know about the man’s racist views before the killing.
Vincent McGee, 22, told an Associated Press reporter that he didn’t learn until after Richard Barrett had been killed that he was a racist leader. McGee, who is charged with murder, spoke to AP outside the home where Barrett’s body was found stabbed, beaten and burned last week.
“I know — now I do — I didn’t know at first,” McGee said of Barrett’s views.
McGee blurted out comments even though deputies told him he was not allowed to do interviews. McGee wouldn’t comment on whether he killed Barrett, and was cheerful and joked with deputies.
He also claimed to have killed 25 people, then smiled and stuck out his tongue. Deputies escorting him didn’t appear to take his claim seriously and the sheriff didn’t immediately return a telephone message.
Police have not said why they think Barrett was killed.
Deputies at the scene would not say what they were looking for during the search or whether they found it.
Barrett, 67, was known for traveling the country promoting segregationist views. He founded a group called the Nationalist Movement and ran a school for skinheads in Mississippi.
McGee was arrested and charged with murder just hours after Barrett’s body was found Thursday in the rural Monterey community near the Jackson suburb of Pearl.
McGee, a convicted felon, wore a yellow prison uniform Monday as seven deputies took him from Barrett’s house to a wooded area nearby. They searched tall grass near a dilapidated barn and then walked McGee down the street to his mother’s house, just two doors down from Barrett’s.
Barrett was stabbed several times in the neck and bashed in the head, police said. He had burns over 35 percent of his body, though investigators believe he was killed Wednesday, and his house set on fire the following day to cover up his death.
Three others have been charged in the case. Albert Lewis, McGee’s stepfather, was charged with being an accessory after the fact, while Vicky and Michael Dent, a mother and son who live nearby, are charged with being accessories after the fact and arson.
Mike Scott, a public defender representing McGee, didn’t want to comment on specifics of the case or his client’s remarks, saying he is looking forward to presenting his side at the trial.
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