MOBILE, Ala. — A state court judge today sentenced a former Ku Klux Klansman to life in prison for the 1981 beating and hanging death of a black teen-ager in Mobile.
Circuit Judge Michael Zoghby imposed the maximum sentence on Benjamin Franklin Cox at the conclusion of a one-hour hearing.
"The message that should go out of this court is that no civilized society, nor the state of Alabama, will tolerate this kind of conduct," Zoghby said. Cox, 28, wept during much of the testimony.
Cox, a truck driver from Mobile, was convicted of murder May 18 for his part in the killing of Michael Donald. Another Klan member was convicted of murder earlier and sentenced to death; a third pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges and became a prosecution witness, and a fourth awaits trial.