Beginning in the spring of 2011, the defendants and others decided to harass and assault African Americans in and around Jackson, Mississippi.
On several occasions, members of the group used dangerous weapons such as beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles to cause bodily injury to African Americans. They would target African Americans they believed to be homeless or under the influence of alcohol because they believed that such individuals would be less likely to report an assault.
The perpetrators would often boast about the racially motivated assaults.
Birthday party discussion
In June 2011, the defendants and others were at a birthday party in Puckett, Mississippi. During the party, they talked about going to Jackson to harass and assault African Americans.
In the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, several young men put their plan in motion. They drove to west Jackson in a white Jeep, cruised around the area and threw beer bottles from the moving vehicle at African-American pedestrians they encountered.
About 5 a.m., occupants of the Jeep spotted James Craig Anderson, 47, in a motel parking lot. They decided that Anderson would be a good target for an assault because he was African American and appeared to be intoxicated. Two members of the group physically assaulted Anderson. He was punched in the face multiple times and knocked to the ground. Some of the assailants shouted “white power.”
Anderson was then run over by a motor vehicle, which caused his death.
Three defendants sentenced
Deryl Paul Dedmon, 22, John Aaron Rice, 21, and Dylan Wade Butler, 23, all of Brandon, Mississippi, pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their roles in the death of Anderson. Dedmon was sentenced to 600 months, Rice was sentenced to 220 months, and Butler was sentenced to 84 months.
“The defendants targeted African-American people they perceived as vulnerable for heinous and violent assaults — hate crimes, motivated solely by race, that shook an entire community and claimed the life of an innocent man,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “These sentences bring a fitting end to the case against these three men.”
Seven other defendants involved in related cases, William Kirk Montgomery, 25, of Puckett, Mississippi, Sarah Adelia Graves, 21, of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, Shelby Brooke Richards, 21, of Pearl, Mississippi, John Louis Blalack, 20, Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 22, Robert Henry Rice, 24, and Joseph Paul Dominick, 23, all of Brandon, Mississippi, are awaiting sentencing.