A Ku Klux Klan leader has admitted murdering a female recruit after she backed out of an initiation exercise.

Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 45, killed Cynthia Lynch the day after she had refused a 'rite of passage' at the remote Klan training camp in 2008.

A former KKK member testified the ex-leader shot Ms Lynch, whom he had personally recruited, after she told him: "I want out."

The 43-year-old had reportedly travelled by bus to join the Sons of Dixie Brotherhood chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in northeastern Louisiana.

Foster, of the northern town of Bogalusa, apologised to the victim's mother during the murder trial in the state court in Covington.

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"I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me," he said. "I so desperately wish I could re-do this whole thing. My heart goes out to you." Foster, whose trial began on Tuesday, pleaded guilty overnight to the second-degree murder. He was handed life in prison, the state's mandatory sentence for such a crime.