Suspect: White supremacist made sexual advance

Published 1:29 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

The black ex-convict charged in the grisly slaying of a white supremacist said he killed the man because he made sexual advances toward him, investigators testified Tuesday.

Vincent McGee was arraigned Tuesday on upgraded charges of capital murder in the death of 67-year-old Richard Barrett, who was found beaten, stabbed 16 times and burned inside his home on April 22.

McGee, 22, was ordered to remain held without bond until the case is considered by a grand jury, which doesn’t meet again until June.

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Investigators testified that McGee gave them inconsistent statements about why he went to Barrett’s house that day. McGee’s mother told authorities that Barrett, who used to travel the country promoting his segregationist views, was acquainted with the family and had stopped by their home for about an hour to socialize the night of his death.

In one statement, McGee said he went over to Barrett’s house to use his computer so he could check his Facebook page and Barrett made sexual advances on him, Rankin County Undersheriff Bryan Bailey testified.

In another statement, McGee told investigators he went to the house to confront Barrett about some money owed him for yard work and that “Barrett dropped his pants and asked him to perform a sexual act.” It was then, Bailey said, that McGee told investigators that he hit and stabbed Barrett.

District Attorney Michael Guest believes robbery was the motive in the slaying, and says investigators recovered a pistol and wallet that McGee took from the home. They also found knives that are believed to be the weapons used in the slaying. In the McGees’ home, they found soot-covered shoes and a cap to a gas can that could have been used to set the fire.

But Mike Scott, McGee’s public defender, said his client was defending himself.

“I don’t think he was in commission of a robbery when this murder happened,” Scott said after the hearing. “He was simply protecting himself.”

Authorities are analyzing two computers confiscated from the house, Bailey said. Scott said the evidence could support McGee’s claims about checking his Facebook page.

Barrett, a New York City native and Vietnam War veteran, moved to Mississippi in 1966, just before he founded a group called the Nationalist Movement. He ran the group from an office in the small rural town of Learned, about 20 miles southwest of Jackson. He also ran a school for skinheads.

Authorities say McGee conscripted a friend, Michael Dent, to help him set Barrett’s house on fire. Dent and his mother, Vickie Dent, are accused as accessories in the case. Investigators say Vincent McGee spent the night at the Dents’ home before he fled to Pearl. Alfred Lewis, identified as Tina McGee’s boyfriend, is accused of driving the suspect to Pearl. He’s also charged as an accessory.