Vincent McGee, 23, was arrested about 5 p.m. Thursday at his sister's home in Pearl, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported Friday
McGee was living with his parents on the same street and had done yard work for the victim, Richard Barrett, 67, whose body was found in his burning Pearl-area home Thursday morning. Barrett had been stabbed multiple times, there were signs of blunt-force trauma to his head and a third of his body had burns, authorities said.
The Clarion-Ledger reported witnesses said Barrett had gone to McGee's home Wednesday evening to pay him for work he had done. McGee is black but authorities have not said whether Barrett's racial beliefs were a factor in his slaying.
McGee had served time for assaulting a police officer and grand larceny before being placed on probation in February.
He was in the Rankin County Detention Center pending a Monday court appearance.
Barrett was a lawyer and highly decorated Vietnam War veteran who operated the Nationalist Movement in the rural community of Learned, the Clarion-Ledger said.
Cathy Glaser of the Anti-Defamation League in New Orleans said her organization considered Barrett a committed white supremacist.
"His work and his actions inflamed racial animosity in the state of Mississippi for decades," she said.
Another hate-group monitor, Mark Potok of the Intelligence Project, called him "a white supremacist gadfly who flitted from cause to cause."
"He never assembled a group that amounted to more than a few young men," Potok said.