KKK leader who murdered 16-year-old Black girl up for parole

Robert Hinson (Image Source: NC Dept. of Public Safety)/ Felecia Houston (Image Source: Family Handout)
Robert Hinson (Image Source: NC Dept. of Public Safety)/ Felecia Houston (Image Source: Family Handout)

At one time Russell Hinson, 56, held the title of Exalted Cyclops of the KKK in Monroe, NC. Hinson was well known and often intimidated Black residents in the area. Then one night in 1992, after getting a bag of cocaine, he felt that the price was too high and he had been cheated. So he had his friend and co-worker drove him around a Black neighborhood seeking revenge.

He spotted a group of three teenage girls who had nothing to do with the drug deal and loaded a crossbow. His friend tried to talk him out of attacking the group but Hinson responded, “I don’t care… One of them is going to pay.” He then fired a razor tipped arrow that struck 16-year-old Felicia Houston. Houston cried out, “I’m shot, I’m hurt!” and fell to the ground dead.

Hinson was sentenced to life in prison for his blatant murder that Union County District Attorney Trey Robison stated was “An absolutely cruel and heartless killing. She was targeted because of her race and for no other reason.”

Despite this crime, Hinson is now eligible for parole by the North Carolina Parole Commission. In North Carolina those convicted of first degree murder are subjected to parole review every three years. Since his incarceration, Hinson claims that he has found God and made friends with Black inmates. He also has been teaching a masonry class and is a regular attendee at Bible study classes. There were only two petitions filed with the parole board, one that argues for his release stating, “During twenty-two years of confinement… Russell has matured emotionally and spiritually. While he was attending Bible classes he found God and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He harbors no animosity toward anyone for their actions and influences or lack of same upon his arrest and trial.”

The other petition called for his continued incarceration stating, “Russell Hinson murdered Felicia Houston with a crossbow for no other reason than the color of her skin.  In modern days, this would be considered a hate crime. Because of his complete disregard for human life and lack of conscience and remorse, justice demands that this convicted murderer be denied parole. Felicia Houston does not get a second chance to live; she is gone forever. Therefore, Russell Hinson does not deserve a second chance or the privilege of freedom.”

If paroled, Hinson will have to serve five years in a federal prison for violating his probation in an earlier case from 1987. That year he attacked a Black man for liking White women. There is no word yet on whether his parole will be granted.

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