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Suspect unaware dead man was racist

Associated Press / April 27, 2010

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PEARL, Miss. — A black man accused of stabbing an outspoken white supremacist to death in Mississippi said yesterday he had been unaware of the man’s racist views.

Vincent McGee, 22, said he didn’t learn until after Richard Barrett had been killed that Barrett was a racist leader. McGee, who is charged with murder, spoke with a reporter 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, 67, and was cheerful and joked with deputies who were conducting a search near Barrett’s home.

McGee also claimed to have killed 25 people, then smiled and stuck out his tongue. Deputies escorting him didn’t appear to take the remark seriously and the sheriff didn’t immediately return a telephone message.

Police have not said why they think Barrett was killed. Deputies 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. His body was found Thursday.