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FERRIDAY, La. (AP) — Arthur Leonard Spencer says sure, he made some mistakes back when he was a "snot-nose kid," like joining the Ku Klux Klan. But murder?
No, the 71-year-old Spencer says, a small-town weekly paper got it wrong when it reported recently that he may have been involved in burning down a black man's shoe repair shop in 1964 with the owner inside.
"I feel sorry for his family, but I didn't have nothing to do with it," Spencer said.
No law enforcement agency has named Spencer as a suspect. But for the dead man's family, still praying for justice 46 years later, it's a welcome if not entirely solid lead.
The allegations were reported by the Concordia Sentinel of Ferriday, whose editor, Stanley Nelson, has dedicated the past four years of his life to an all-consuming investigation of the blaze that killed 51-year-old Frank Morris.
Nelson has written more than 100 stories about the case, culminating in an article that quoted Spencer's estranged son, his ex-wife and her brother as saying the former Klansman confessed to taking part in the crime.
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