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Just days after the Justice Department launched an investigation into the fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager, three white men pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crime charges stemming from the horrific June 2011 murder of a 47-year-old black Mississippi man who was beaten and then run over by a pickup truck.

  • Deryl Dedmon, 19, charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson, pleads guilty to murder and committing a hate crime, March 21.By Rogelio V. Solis, AP

    Deryl Dedmon, 19, charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson, pleads guilty to murder and committing a hate crime, March 21.

By Rogelio V. Solis, AP

Deryl Dedmon, 19, charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson, pleads guilty to murder and committing a hate crime, March 21.

Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez said Deryl Dedmon, 19; John Rice, 19; and Dylan Butler, 20, made “a sport of attacking African Americans” in the Jackson, Miss., area before they were linked to the fatal assault on auto worker James Craig Anderson.

Dedmon also pleaded guilty in state court Wednesday in connection with the murder and was given two life sentences. Rice has been charged by state authorities with assault. Butler has not been charged in state court. A state investigation continues.

Perez said the federal charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, mark the first time authorities have invoked the federal hate crime statute — known as the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act — in a case resulting in a victim’s death. Shepard and Byrd were both victims in high-profile hate cases.

The Justice Department announced Monday it was reviewing events surrounding the February shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who said he was acting in self-defense. Zimmerman has not been charged in the case, which has sparked outrage in Florida and demonstrations in other parts of the U.S.

In the Anderson case, Perez said the investigation revealed evidence of a racially-motivated attack in which the three Mississippi men set out to “harass and assault African Americans” in the early morning hours of June 26, 2011.

About 5 a.m., according to court documents, the suspects encountered Anderson in a motel parking lot, where they severely beat him. Rice and Butler, according to court documents, were the first to leave the scene, driving away in a Jeep from which one of them yelled, “White power!”

Dedmon and two others then got into a Ford F-250 truck and ran over Anderson, killing him, according to court documents.

 

 

 

 

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Posted April 3, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Uncategorized

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