Florida’s State Board of Administration (SBA) blocked a former corrections officer with Ku Klux Klan links from receiving state retirement benefits because of his conviction in a scheme to murder a Black man who had been released from prison.
The SBA, which operates the state’s retirement system, upheld an administrative law judge’s decision to deny the benefits to David Elliot Moran, the Herald Tribune reported Friday.
A Florida jury found Moran and Charles Thomas Newcomb guilty in 2017 of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. A third man, Thomas Jordan Driver, who pleaded guilty, and Moran were guards at the Department of Corrections Reception and Medical Center in north Florida.
The trio began plotting after the inmate bit Driver during a fight at the medical center. The three men believed that the inmate was infected with HIV and Hepatitis C. They unknowingly negotiated with an FBI informant to kill the Black man after his release from prison. All three men were arrested in 2015 after an investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
State officials informed Moran in 2017 that he must forfeit his retirement benefits because of the conviction. He rejected that decision and sought an administrative hearing, arguing that there was no connection between the conspiracy and his job.
However, judge Hetal Desai disagreed in a decision handed down in May, and the SBA has now upheld the ruling. The agency said it didn’t matter that the plot was not intended to unfold at the state facility.
“It might have been difficult for petitioner and his co-conspirators to carry out a murder or attempted murder of an inmate at the correctional facility at which they worked or had worked. However, just because the conspiracy to commit murder occurred off the employer’s premises, does not mean that forfeiture (of benefits) would not be appropriate,” the SBA ruled.