The murder last year of Missouri Ku Klux Klan imperial grand wizard Frank Ancona has taken a twist.
His widow originally blamed her son for the murder. Now she says she shot him.
Malissa Ancona wrote a letter from jail in September that said she wanted “to let the court know know, that he did not pull the trigger, (I DiD),” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The Riverfront Times, which apparently saw the letter, too, reported that Ancona wrote, “My son is innocent.”
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She and her 24-year-old son, Paul Jinkerson Jr., are both facing charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandoning a corpse, according to the Times.
In the handwritten letter — which the Post-Dispatch says was sent to Judge Wendy Wexler Horn — Ancona also “complains about her public defender, pleads for medications and says she was deemed permanently mentally ill in 2003 by the state,” the Times writes.
Frank Ancona, the leader of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was found dead from a bullet to the head near Belgrade, Missouri, in February 2017, The Kansas City Star reported.
The 51-year-old from Leadwood, Missouri, was found on the bank of the Big River by a family fishing there, Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen told The Star.
Two days later, Malissa Ancona and Jinkerson were charged with murder, The Star reported.
Jinkerson was accused of shooting his stepfather while he slept in the master bedroom of the family home in Leadwood.
“Ms. Ancona admitted that she failed to report the crime and additionally attempted to destroy blood evidence and altered the crime scene in an attempt to conceal the offense and was acting in concert with her son Paul Jinkerson Jr.,” said the probable cause statement, The Star reported.
Authorities told The Star that Ancona’s body was removed from the house and placed in Jinkerson’s vehicle, then dumped near where it was found by a fishing family.
St. Francois County Prosecutor Jerrod Mahurin told The New York Times he believed the murder was instigated by a marital dispute and not Ancona’s activities with the Klan.
Ancona’s employer reported him missing to authorities, the Daily Journal in Park Hills, Missouri, reported right before his body was found. Ancona told Leadwood police the last time she saw her husband he was heading to work, the newspaper reported.
She told Leadwood Police Chief William Dickey that she got a call from his employer telling her Ancona had to drive across the state to deliver a part, according to the Daily Journal, but his employer told authorities that wasn’t true.
Believing that Ancona was actually dead inside his house, Dickey went there and told the Daily Journal that he found Malissa Ancona in the driveway with her son.
“She was a little hesitant to let us go into the house at first,” Dickey told the newspaper. “She said she didn’t really want us going in, but after talking to her in detail about what we were there for, she let us inside.
“We found a safe that looked like somebody had taken a crowbar to it and beat the side out of the safe. Everything was missing from inside the safe.”
Ancona led the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, “among the newest and most visible of the Klan factions in the country, although it’s not considered the largest,” The Star reported.
“Founded around 2009, the Traditionalist American Knights have made headlines in recent years for such actions as distributing fliers during the Ferguson, Mo., protests warning that they were poised to use lethal force to protect themselves from demonstrators.”
The Riverfront Times reported in March 2017 that Ancona had told family members that he thought his wife “was trying to kill him, possibly poisoning his food with medications in hopes he would fall asleep at the wheel while working his courier job.
“Malissa Ancona, a seamstress who specialized in children’s tutus, had supported her husband’s activities in the Klan, even sewing robes and patches for KKK members. But the relationship soured over the years.”
In the letter she wrote to the judge in September, Ancona wrote that she was “under the influence” when she talked to detectives and couldn’t remember what happened the night her husband died, according to the Post-Dispatch.
The next hearing in the case against Ancona is set for April 19, 2019, and her son goes on trial next May, the Post-Dispatch reported.