MOBILE, Ala. — A former Ku Klux Klansman was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the 1981 beating and hanging death of a black teen-ager who was abducted at random and tortured.
Circuit Judge Michael Zoghby imposed the maximum sentence on Benjamin Franklin Cox Jr. after an hourlong hearing. He called the hanging "a heinous, senseless killing" and said that "the punishment should fit the crime."
Cox, 28, a Mobile truck driver, was convicted on May 18 of murder as an accomplice in the killing of Michael Donald, 19. 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.