By MEG KINNARD | Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — After a lengthy legal battle between a black South Carolina church and members of the Ku Klux Klan, a judge has ruled that the church owns a building where KKK robes and T-shirts are sold.
A circuit judge ruled last month that New Beginnings Baptist Church is the rightful owner of the building that houses the Redneck Shop, which operates a so-called Klan museum and sells Klan robes and T-shirts emblazoned with racial slurs. The judge ordered the shop's proprietor to pay the church's legal bills of more than $3,300.
Since 1996, the Redneck Shop has operated in an old movie theater in Laurens, a city about 70 miles northwest from Columbia that was named after 18th century slave trader Henry Laurens.
Ownership of the building was transferred in 1997 to the Rev. David Kennedy and his church, New Beginnings, by a Klansman fighting with others inside the hate group, according to court records. But a clause in the deed entitles John Howard, formerly KKK grand dragon for the Carolinas, to operate his business in the building until he dies.
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