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Hate Crime: Life Sentence For Teen Who Killed Gay Black Man For Fun

by David Badash on March 22, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,Discrimination,Hate Crimes,News

Post image for Hate Crime: Life Sentence For Teen Who Killed Gay Black Man For Fun

Deryl Dedmon pled guilty to hate crime murder charges after he was caught on video in June 2011 driving over a black gay man with an SUV multiple times in a Mississippi parking lot. Dedmon, now 19, who has also been identified as Daryl Dedmon, got drunk with a half-dozen friends and reportedly said, “let’s go fuck with some niggers.” The fact that the victim was gay was not known to the killers at the time of the murder, it is believed. Dedmon received two life in prison sentences without the possibility of parole.

Our report from last summer details the killing:

On June 26, seven white teens, perhaps best-described as white supremacists, in Jackson, Mississippi, repeatedly and continually beat a black man, then once they were done, took their SUV and ran over him, killing him. The leader of the teens, 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon, Jr., reportedly raised his fists and shouted “White Power!” as he murdered the 49-year-old black man, James Craig Anderson, simply for being black.

“As the teens were partying and drinking miles away from Jackson that night, in largely white Rankin County, Dedmon told friends they should leave, saying ‘let’s go fuck with some niggers,’ according to law enforcement officials,” CNN reports.

“Mississippi officials say it was a racially motivated murder,” CNN adds. “What the gang of teens did not know was that a surveillance camera was focused on the parking lot that night, and many of the events, including the actual murder of Anderson, were captured live on videotape.”

“This was a crime of hate. Dedmon murdered this man because he was black,” said Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith. “The evidence will show that.”

Asked if there could be any doubt whether the intent was to actually hurt and kill a black person, Smith responded: “No doubt about it. They were going out to look for a black victim to assault, and in this case, even kill.”

“I ran that nigger over,” Dedmon allegedly said in a phone conversation to the teens in the other car.

“He repeated the racial language in subsequent conversations, according to the law enforcement officials.

“He was not remorseful he was laughing, laughing about the killing,” said district attorney Smith.

It was not initially known that the victim, James Craig Anderson, was gay, and had a partner of 17 years.

Last fall, Jamie McGonnigal wrote:

A Mississippi man will not be allowed to take part in a wrongful death lawsuit of his longtime partner, because the state does not recognize their same-sex relationship.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is reportedly working with the family and their lawyer to investigate whether some of the teenagers involved may have ties to a gang with white-supremacist leanings.

Ironically, under Mississippi law, Anderson’s partner of 17 years – who he was raising a 4-year old daughter with – cannot participate in the lawsuit.

As their laws do not recognize same-sex partnerships, James Bradfield and his daughter will see no justice in the brutal murder of a beloved husband and father.

Although there is currently no indication that Anderson’s sexual orientation was a factor in the crime, the case is an example of the harms that committed LGBT couples and families are vulnerable to.

Local Mississippi news Clarion Ledger noted yesterday:

Mississippi saw its first hate crime conviction since the law was passed two decades ago.

Today, The Huffington Post — which does not mention that Anderson was gay — quotes Dedmon’s statement to the court:

“I was young. I was dumb. I was ignorant … I was not raised the way that I acted that night. I was raised in a godly house. As I stand before you today, I am a changed man. I am a godly man. God has showed me to see no colors. God showed me that we are all made in the image of God so we are all based on the same thing … I do not ask y’all to forget, but I do ask y’all to forgive.”

The Post adds:

Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill Sr. had the last word.

“Your prejudice has brought shame upon you and placed a great stain on the state of Mississippi. Whatever excuse you may offer for what you have done, forget that. There’s no excuse that you can offer for the family of Mr. Anderson or to your fellow Mississippians who have to try to reconcile the horrible damage you have caused,” Weill said.

Weill recalled the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers who were murdered and buried in an earthen dam in a rural area in what became known as “Mississippi Burning.”

“All the hard work we have done to move our state forward from that earthen dam in Neshoba County to here has been stained by you. A stain that will take years to fade,” the judge said.

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StanleyJames March 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Welcome to mississippi, where the civil war never ended. I hope this cutie boy has fun in the prison. Some people do deserve "cruel and unusual punishment"

StanleyJames March 22, 2012 at 10:57 pm

the killer said "I was raised in a godly house"

yes – probably southern baptist /evangelical – the people whose religious culture bullwarked slavery,, justified as per the bible.

And gave us the KKK and segregation.

BTW if you realize the catholic church is a monster re the endless hidden molestation of children, just go google

"southern baptists molest children"

pnoneL50n March 23, 2012 at 2:41 am

It was established long ago that Mississippi is the deepest pit in Hell!

Awerd1 July 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm

It was established long ago that Mississippi is the deepest pit in Hell! Very nice..

Edster20 September 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I in fact grew up with Deryl. I moved to Mississippi when I was almost twelve, as my mother has a handful of family members that live just outside of Meridian. We moved into a trailer in the same park as his family, and he was actually one of my first acquaintances. His younger brother was around 8 years old, and he Deryl and I would often go fishing at the pond in that neighborhood, and would catch many brim. I often stayed the night with the two of them, as they were always welcoming of me for barbeques, fishing, and things of that nature. I even broke my foot upon leaping off his front porch, during a game of hide and seek with the girl from across the street. His Step Mother rushed me home, and for several days i heard from the family, who just wanted to make sure i was okay. There was one time he and his dad invited me to go "frog gigging" and we drove several hours to a swamp and caught upwards of a dozen bullfrogs and fried their legs for dinner. The family even took me camping once or twice, and deryl and I went tubing with some newfound lady friends. I will never forget Deryl offering to sleep on the floor so I could have the loft which, to my disdain, was freezing cold, level in heighth to the air conditioner. Once on a latter note, Deryl and his father went hunting, and I declined to take venture, nonetheless I helped them gut the deer upon their return. That was the first and only time I've ever gutted a deer. And I will always remember just how distant he was, from his father, and his brother, always claiming that they had it out for him in some way or another. He felt deeply misguided, and his actions only proved that. But his parents were good people. They loved him, and genuinely accepted me as a friend to their household. Deryl and a friend of my sister were at my house, the day my sister graduated from highschool, and I watched as the lot of them received their diplomas. I even smoked my first cigarette with Deryl, at the age of maybe 13 or so. At one point his cousin was also living in the trailer park, moreso near my residence than the Dedmon's. I also remember staying there from time to time, making friends with most of his immediate family. It all seems so distant now that Deryl has chosen such a sealed fate, but I can never forget how he befriended me, the Hispanic kid straight out of New Mexico, and how his family cared for me. I cannot condone to his actions in any way, because it was just an awful thing that took place, but I just wanted to sort of shape his human side a bit. He was a friend to me, after all.

Eddy J. Nunez

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