The Virginia State Police, the FBI and the Justice Department are investigating allegations by a Nevada state prison inmate that the Ku Klux Klan tortured and killed more than 20 blacks in the Washington area and then buried them in rural Fauquier County during the 1960s.
The alleged victims, including women and children, were randomly snatched from area streets, murdered, and supposedly buried near Warrenton, according to the inmate, convicted murderer Edward A. See. The allegations involve as many as 25 victims, said one source who asked not to be identified.
Yesterday, Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, campaigning for a fellow Democrat in Chicago, confirmed that on Oct. 10 he asked State Police to investigate See's allegations. "I'm taking it very seriously," he said.
State and federal officials declined to offer specifics on the allegations made by See, who is serving two consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole for killing two Las Vegas women in 1979.
See, 43, is also serving a 15-year term for holding 10 members of a gospel group hostage on Easter Sunday in 1981 in an escape attempt at the maximum-security Nevada State Prison, said Glen Wharton, a prison department spokesman.
The Fauquier County Sheriff's Department and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said they hadn't been contacted by officials.
See's allegations were first aired Thursday night on Fox Television Network. The network said See was "having trouble identifying the specific place" of burial, and no one had yet searched for the bodies.
A report on the Fox network last night said See had placed one burial site as north of Warrenton near Route 29. It said See claimed to have spent his teenage years in Warrenton and to have seen the killings.
Nevada Department of Prisons director Ron Angelone said his agency is not willing to reduce See's sentence in exchange for his cooperation in the federal investigations.
An FBI spokesman confirmed his agency was investigating.
Staff writer David S. Broder contributed to this report.