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Pearl – A white supremacist lawyer found dead in his house had been stabbed, beaten and his body set on fire, authorities said on Friday.
A neighbour has been charged the murder.
Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington said lawyer Richard Barrett's body was found on Thursday morning after residents reported smoke coming from his house in a rural area outside Jackson, Mississippi.
Pennington said Vincent McGee, 22, has been charged with the murder. Additional charges, including arson could be forthcoming, Pennington said.
The sheriff said McGee had not yet hired a lawyer and his mother had no comment when she went to the jail where he was being held.
Pennington said on Friday that a preliminary autopsy showed Barrett, 67, had been stabbed multiple times in the neck and had blunt force trauma to the head. The sheriff said 35% of Barrett's body had been burned.
McGee lived nearby and had done yard work for Barrett in the past, Pennington said.
The sheriff didn't have a possible motive.
Served 5 years in prison
McGee was released from state prison in February after serving five years of a six-year sentence for assault on a police officer and grand larceny.
Barrett, a New York City native and Vietnam War veteran, moved to Mississippi in 1966. Soon after, he began travelling the country to promote anti-black and anti-immigrant views and founded a supremacist group called the Nationalist Movement.
One expert on hate groups said Barrett was well known for his news conferences and protests in places having racial strife, but he had mustered little clout in the white power movement.
"Richard Barrett was a guy who ran around the country essentially pulling off publicity stunts," said Mark Potok, who monitors hate groups for the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre. "He really never amounted to any kind of leader in the white supremacist movement."
Barrett attracted about 50 supporters to his 2008 rally in protest of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday in the Louisiana town of Jena, where six black teenagers were charged with beating a white classmate.
Years earlier, he sued over a ban on Confederate flags at University of Mississippi football games