ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY SHERIFF
Malissa Ancona now says she killed her husband.
The cat-hoarding wife of a Ku Klux Klan leader in rural Missouri pleaded guilty this morning to murdering him in 2017 and dumping his body.
Malissa Ancona, 47, admitted in St. Francois County Court to shooting Frank Ancona twice in their house in Leadwood.
"I fired both shots that killed my husband," Ancona told Judge Wendy Wexler Horn, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported
The killing was the subject of a Riverfront Times cover story in March 2017
As we reported then, Frank Ancona had confided to relatives and others that he suspected his wife had drugged him in the past and was possibly trying to kill him. Then, in February 2017, he went missing. Investigators soon discovered bizarre online posts made by Malissa Ancona, seeking a roommate. She told law enforcement she believed her husband had left her, so she was looking for someone to help with the bills.
Frank Ancona's body was discovered near a river outside the small town of Belgrade, Missouri, shortly after he was reported missing by family members. Investigators quickly focused on his wife and stepson, Paul Jinkerson Jr., as the prime suspects. They were both charged on February 13, 2017 with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.
Malissa Ancona's story has changed repeatedly since the killing. She at first blamed her son, Jinkerson, saying he fired on her sleeping husband in the master bedroom of the house. She later wrote the judge a letter
, saying she was actually the shooter, only to say in a later letter she hadn't been in her right mind when confessing.
She had been scheduled for a hearing this morning to set dates in her trial, but the Post-Dispatch
reports that she instead made a deal with prosecutors to plead to second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse. She told the judge that Jinkerson was not involved in the killing but helped her clean up the crime scene and dispose of the body.
Jinkerson's case is still pending.
Before his death, Frank Ancona had made brief appearances on the national stage through interviews with the New York Times
and MSNBC, leveraging his role as the imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK. Despite the grandiose name, the hate group was a tiny, disorganized collection of small-town white supremacists numbering maybe 40 at the height of the organization's influence, the Southern Poverty Law Center previously told the RFT
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION VIA TRADITIONALISTAMERICANKNIGHTS.COM
Frank Ancona portrayed himself as a powerful KKK leader, but the public image concealed a messy private life.
Ancona had supported her husband in his Klan activities, sewing robes for him and other members — an activity that earned her the mocking nickname "Seamstress for the Klan" from an ex-husband. But she and Frank Ancona clashed in the months before his death.
Against her husband's wishes, she turned their house into a filthy, off-the-books animal rescue, relatives and animal rescue workers say. When law enforcement arrived at the couple's home to investigate Frank Ancona's death, they had to pick their way through piles of garbage and dozens of cats, who had free reign of the place.
Relatives say Frank Ancona had talked of leaving his wife, but worried what she might do.
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