Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Subject: Garrison Prosecutes Klan Bombers
Garrison Prosecutes Klan Bombers
Date: 5/4/99 8:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time
New Orleans Times-Picayune March 26, 1968 S1-P1
Three Men Plead Guilty in Fire Bombing of Home
Each Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
Three men charged with aggravated arson in the 1965 fire bombing of a Unitarian minister's home pleaded guilty and each was sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary Monday [25th].
Nicholas Glover, Harold Reynolds and Lloyd Barnett entered their pleas before Criminal District Judge Bernard J. Bagert about 5:30 P.M. after a Slidell sign painter testified that he and five other men, including the men on trial, participated in the bombing.
William Cross Jr., who said he owns the St. Tamany Sign Co. and lives at 1553 Ninth, Slidell, was a state witness in the trial.
Cross, his brother, Donald Cross, and Lester Dickerson also were charged with aggravated arson in the same indictment, but have not been tried.
The victim of the bombing, which occurred in the early morning of March 14, 1965, was the Rev. Albert D'Orlando, then residing at 7700 Nelson.
Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Julian R. Murray, Cross said at least five of the other men were members of a local chapter of the United Klans of America. It was known as local 507, Cross said.
Cross said he was not sure whether or not Glover was a member.
Under cross-examination by defense attorneys Robert J. Zibilich and Richard Mathews, Cross admitted that he possibly was the "cyclops" or head of the local Klan group when the Rev. Mr. D'Orlando's home was bombed.
Cross testified for the state that he, his brother, Dickerson, Glover, Reynolds amd Barnett went to Jim's restaurant on S. Carrolton ave. the night of March 13, 1965, because they had heard of some kind of sit-in activity planned there.
They were told that the demonstrators had left, so they went to an uptown restaurant where the demonstators were supposed to have gone, Cross said.
"We couldn't find them there so we returned to Jim's. We sat around for awhile talking. The next day there was to be a sympathy march at the Federal Building."
The Rev. D'Orlando was to deliver a prayer, Cross said.
He said the sympathy meeting was for a civil rights leader who had been shot in Alabama.
"We discussed the action to be taken against someone. That turned out to be the Rev. D'Orlando, his house," Cross said.
Cross pointed out Glover, Barnett and Reynolds as the men who were with him at the restaurant.
"The decision was to place a bomb at his (Rev. D'Orlando's) house," Cross said.
[Gasoline bomb making details omitted]
"Glover and Barnett were the ones who placed the bombs at D'Orlando's home [...]," Cross asserted.
Under questioning by Murray, Cross also said that he had gone to a residence at 7523 Plum, where a woman identified as Jane Dunn lived in April, 1965.
"Once again, there was to be a bomb placed at this address," Cross said.
Mathews and Zibilich objected because the defendants were not on trial for this incident, nor for two others the state brought up. However, Judge Bagert overruled the objections.
Cross said that Reynolds and Dickerson placed the bombs while he was parked around the corner from the residence.
Earlier, first Assistant District Attorney Charles R. Ward said the state hoped to show "system and intent" with this additional bombing and that at the rectory of the Sacred Heart Church at 139 S. Lopez, which occurred on March 9, 1965.
Ward alleged in the opening statement that Glover, Reynolds and Dickerson participated in the Sacred Heart bombing. However, testimony did not touch upon this bombing.
Also, the state had hoped to show that Barnett had given a shrimp boil at his home at 423 River Oaks dr. in Algiers, at which demonstrations in constructing bombs were conducted.
Cross said he attended the shrimp boil, and that Reynolds gave demonstrations in making pipe bombs.
Under cross-examination by Mathews, Cross said he could not remember specifically the Klan oaths and rituals, despite the fact the he had been head of the local group.
He said he was not sure he was "cyclops" at the time of the bombings.
Dickerson apparently was to have testified for the state.
"Is it not a fact that you were advised that Mr. Dickerson would testify for the state?" Mathews asked at one point.
"There was no indication he would testify for the state," Cross answered.
"Why did you decide to become a state witness," Mathews asked later.
"Maybe it was the right thing to do, I don't know. I'm not sure," was Cross' answer.
"It would seem the proper thing to do. There's no doubt that I'm in trouble," he added.
Cross tesified before Murray and the defense attorneys that he hoped for some consideration from the court for having testified, but denied he had been promised anything.
Mathews asked Cross why, after giving a statement to the police, he told his fellow defendants that he would not testify.
"I didn't want anything to happen to me before the trial date," Cross said.
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