The search for the killer of a prominent Ku Klux Klan leader has ended in his own bedroom, according to law enforcement officials in Washington, County, Missouri who charged his wife and stepson with murder on Monday.
KKK “imperial wizard” Frank Ancona, 51, was shot and killed as he lay asleep in his bed on February 9, according to a probable cause statement. Frank’s wife, Malissa Ancona, 44, and his stepson, Paul Jinkerson Jr., 24, have been charged with first degree murder, felony armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence, and abandonment of a corpse. Following Frank’s murder, the pair allegedly moved his body into Jinkerson’s car and dumped him near a river bank, where he was found by a family out on a fishing trip on Feb 11.
The Daily Journal reported that Malissa allegedly admitted to investigators that her son, Jinkerson, was the one to shoot Frank and she had attempted to hide evidence to cover up the crime. Officers exercising a search warrant found a safe in the home had been pried open with a crowbar and all of its content removed. Police say Frank’s guns—with the exception of the pistol he usually carried with him at all times—were missing from the property.
Malissa was taken into custody on Sunday. Jinkerson was already in custody on an unrelated charge that may or may not be related to his Facebook post from January 19: “I don't care what anyone believes. i did not rob Roy's car wash. No one knows the story. Yes I was there, but i took no part in it. i will not be blamed for something I didn't do. Believe what you will,” he wrote.
Malissa and Frank were married in 2010. Photos of their wedding posted online show the pair dressed in head-to-toe Klan garb.
On Facebook, Frank’s relatives immediately pointed fingers at Malissa, noting strange postings by the woman, including one the day after Frank’s disappearance looking for a roommate. Malissa told investigators she had posted the ad because Frank threatened her with divorce before leaving on a work trip—an assignment his employer disputed.
Malissa’s Facebook page is littered with news reports about violent crimes in the area and posts urging followers to assist in the placement of rescued cats. But on the day after Frank’s murder, Malissa posted, “My husband is missing do please if anyone sees anything call the police.”
Until Malissa and her son’s arrest, white supremacists speculated Frank’s disappearance and “suspicious” death could be the result of an assassination operation conducted by the U.S. government, while anti-racists and groups like the hacker collective Anonymous posted news of Frank’s murder with the hashtag #DeadAssKlansman. A GoFundMe page set up by Frank Ancona III to raise money for his father’s funeral expenses was taken down on Monday after being flooded with messages from posters celebrating the murder.
Frank Ancona’s group—the Missouri-based Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (TAK)–stand for “WHITE SUPREMACY” and “KEEP[ING] THIS A WHITE MAN'S COUNTRY,” according to the “who we are,” section of their website. It is the largest Ku Klux Klan organization in America.
“The media will tell you The KKK is dead, gone, irrelevant. They have tried since the birth of the Klan to downplay the influence and power of the KKK,” Frank wrote in 2011.
The TAK experienced an uptick in membership from 2012 to 2013, but also splintered due to rumored infighting and conflicts over how to spread their racist message.
After a leafleting campaign to gain new members garnered national attention, Ancona sought to temper the KKK’s message in public spaces, telling a reporter in 2014, “We don’t hate people because of their race. We are a Christian organization. Because of the acts of a few rogue Klansmen, all are supposed to be murderers and wanting to lynch black people and we’re supposed to be terrorists. That is a complete falsehood.”
In another rebranding attempt in 2013, documented in a Discovery film on the KKK, Ancona is shown organizing a sparsely attended event where robed klansmen offered ham sandwiches to the needy at a local park.
And following Anonymous’s hacking into the Traditionalist American Knights’ website and doxxing of Ancona in 2014, the imperial wizard met with a representative from the hacker group at a Steak and Shake to discuss the police shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. Ancona’s group unsurprisingly supported Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Brown.
After Malissa’s arrest, likeminded white supremacists gathered online on the racist forum Stormfront, to offer their condolences for the member they knew as “Missouri hellbilly.”
“When a Klansman leaves this world. The great loss is to the world he leaves behind. But great victory is to the man who enters our father's kingdom having been a servant, teacher, and warrior for the Lord our God here on earth,” one poster wrote. “As we mourn the loss of our brother here on earth, the heavens celebrate the return of another Klansman come home.”