Samuel Bowers, 82, Klan Leader Convicted in Fatal Bombing, Dies





amuel H. Bowers Jr., the imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan faction who was found guilty in 1998 in the firebombing murder of a Mississippi shopkeeper 32 years earlier, died yesterday in a prison hospital in Parchman, Miss.

He was 82. The cause was a heart attack, according to Tara Booth, the spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Mr. Bowers had been ill and in the Mississippi State Penitentiary Hospital in Parchman, in the Mississippi Delta, for some time before his death, which was recorded at 11:30 a.m.

Mr. Bowers was the charismatic leader of the most violent and secretive division of the Ku Klux Klan, the Mississippi White Knights, which at its peak had up to 10,000 members by law enforcement estimates. The F.B.I. attributed nine murders and 300 beatings, burnings and bombings to Mr. Bowers and the group.

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