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Ex-prison guard likely to lose benefits in murder plot

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In a case involving members of the Ku Klux Klan, an administrative law judge Tuesday said a former correctional officer convicted of conspiring to murder a former inmate should lose his state retirement benefits.

David Moran, a former sergeant at the Florida Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center at Lake Butler, was convicted in a plot to kill a black former inmate who had bitten another officer.

Moran and another correctional officer and a former officer involved in the plot were members of the Ku Klux Klan, according to Tuesday’s ruling by Administrative Law Judge Hetal Desai.

The men were arrested after enlisting an FBI informant to help kill the former inmate.

The State Board of Administration, which operates the retirement system, informed Moran in 2017 that he had forfeited his benefits because of the conviction.

Moran sought an administrative hearing, contending in part that the “conspiracy was not related to or associated with his employment at DOC, but rather related to his activity in the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and, therefore, did not amount to a violation of the public trust,” Desai wrote.

But the administrative law judge, in a 24-page recommended order Tuesday, rejected Moran’s arguments and said he should lose the benefits.

“As stated previously, there is no dispute petitioner conspired with another DOC employee and a former DOC employee to plan the murder of a former inmate,” Desai wrote. “There was no evidence that petitioner would have come into contact with the victim inmate through any other means other than his role as a DOC sergeant. In other words, but for the knowledge, relationships and privileges of his position, petitioner would not have been involved in the conspiracy to kill Mr. Williams (the intended victim).”

Under administrative law, Desai’s recommended order will go back to the State Board of Administration for final action.

Moran would lose benefits in his 401(k)-style investment plan account, though the state would return contributions he made to the account.