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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