Mississippi Youth Sentenced to Life in Prison for a Racially Motivated Murder

Disclaimer: at times, the video is graphic. So please, proceed with caution.

video from YouTube

According to CNN, a Mississippi man who beat and ran over an African-American man with his truck plead guilty to murder and a hate-crime charge Wednesday in a Jackson court.

Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill sentenced Deryl Dedmon, 19, to serve two concurrent life terms for the murder of James Craig Anderson on June 26.

“Whatever excuse you offer, forget that. There is no excuse,” Weill said. He added, “The state of Mississippi condemns this despicable crime.”

Dedmon told the judge he was a “changed man.”

According to CNN, Dedmon said: “I wish I could take it all back. I was young and dumb, ignorant and full of hatred. I chose to go down the wrong path.”

According to the article, Deryl Dedmon and six other white youths, drove from Rankin County to Jackson after a night of drinking and partying in an attempt to “go fuck with some niggers,” officials have said, quoting some of the suspects in the case.

The seven youths drove in two trucks to Jackson. Soon after they exited the highway, they found Anderson alone in a parking lot. They proceeded to beat Anderson and yelling racial slurs.

After beating Anderson, Dedmon drove his Ford F-250 truck over him and left him to die, according to teens who are cooperating with the police have said.

Dedmon could have faced the death penalty; however, Anderson’s family sent letters asking state and federal officials to not seek the death penalty, partly for religious convictions.

Anderson’s family has also filed a wrongful death suit against all seven youths who were present at the beating.

Dedmon is also expected to plead guilty to undisclosed federal charges Thursday, a source close to the case told CNN. These charges could include a federal hate crime. Federal investigators are also looking into other possible crimes committed by Dedmon that could show a trend of racial violence.

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This is outrageous and unacceptable. It is a shame that somebody had to die because of the color of his skin. I simply cannot fathom why people cannot accept that their are other races besides white, and that NO race is better than another. This is the 21st century; however, these actions might suggest that we are in the 1800s (which made it no less acceptable).

I hope that Dedmon is a changed man and realizes the ignorance that plagued his existence. However, I am skeptical. I believe people can change and evolve, but I do not believe people’s core character can change. You are who you are, and I do not think that can change. Someone is brought up in the white supremacy ideology from birth; it is not natural or innate. It is socially constructed to make white people feel superior and “relieve” accountability of despicable acts, such as this one.

But this ideology and those who hide behind it MUST be held accountable (like Dedmon is). White supremacy, for the most part, has given way and become a thing of the past. But it is still present, and that presence can be felt when a tragedy such as this one occurs.

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About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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