Two days after the leader of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was found dead in southeast Missouri, his wife and stepson were charged Monday in his murder.
Malissa A. Ancona, 44, and Paul Jinkerson Jr., 24, are charged with first-degree murder, abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Frank Ancona.
According to a probable cause statement describing the charges, Jinkerson is accused of killing his stepfather on Thursday inside the family home in Leadwood, Mo. Jinkerson allegedly shot Ancona while he was asleep in the master bedroom.
(Ancona shares a name with a car dealer in Olathe, but the two are not related or connected in any way.)
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“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.,” the statement said.
St. Francois County Prosecutor Jerrod D. Mahurin filed the charges Monday morning. He said he believed the killing happened because of a marital dispute and was not connected to Ancona’s membership in the KKK, The New York Times reported.
Ancona, 51, was found shot to death Saturday near Belgrade, Mo. His body was discovered near the Big River by a family fishing in the area, according to Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen.
Washington County coroner Brian DeClue told The Star that Ancona died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities say Ancona’s body was moved from the home and put into the stepson’s vehicle. His body was then dumped in the area where it was later found.
The KKK group’s national headquarters is in Park Hills, Mo., about an hour’s drive southwest of St. Louis.
Ancona had not been seen since Wednesday morning, authorities said.
Leadwood Police Chief William Dickey told the Park Hills Daily Journal that police learned Ancona was missing when they were contacted by his employer. Malissa Ancona told police that her husband had received a call from work saying he needed to deliver a vehicle part across the state. But the employer told police that Ancona was not sent on a delivery run.
The police chief also said that Malissa Ancona told him that when her husband left, he said he was filing for divorce when he got home.
Dickey told the Daily Journal that a search of Ancona’s home found a safe that looked as though someone “had taken a crowbar to it.” Everything was missing from the safe, Dickey said, and Ancona’s firearms were missing from the house.