There are two very important new developments in the horrific case of James Craig Anderson, the Black Mississippi man killed in an alleged racially motivated hit-and-run murder by a white teenager.
Authorities have upgraded the charges against 19-year-old Deryl Dedmon from murder to capital murder. Police say Dedmon and a group of teens targeted and beat the 49-year-old auto plant worker. The FBI is now involved in the case.
Also: Personal details have also emerged about the victim. James Anderson had a male partner and they were raising a daughter, reports the New York Times.
Mr. Anderson was a good country cook, a gifted gardener and always genial, his family said. He liked his job on the assembly line at the Nissan plant north of Jackson, where he had worked for about seven years. "If you met him, the first thing you were going to see was that grand piano smile," said his eldest sister, Barbara Anderson Young.
He made a point of taking care of old people and children and was helping his partner of 17 years, James Bradfield, raise the 4-year-old relative for whom Mr. Bradfield has legal guardianship. He sang tenor in the choir at the First Hyde Park Missionary Baptist Church and was so good "he’d have you falling out," Mr. Bradfield, 44, said.
Witnesses report one teenager yelled "white power" and that Dedmon shouted the n-word. Dedmon has a history of bullying, as well as racial and homophobic animosity.
In an interview at his church in a nicely kept section of the county where Mr. Dedmon was raised, [Rev. Brian Richardson], who is white, said Mr. Dedmon had called his son, Jordan, 18, derogatory words for homosexual and mocked his friendship with black students when they were in high school together. Mr. Richardson said he had raised the issue with school officials, and once had to deal with the police when Mr. Dedmon and some other boys drove to the family home.
Surveillance video shows Anderson being struck by a truck that belongs to Dedmon. Dedmon later called a friend to "brag about what he had done" after running over the man, testimony revealed.
John Aaron Rice, 18, also faces an assault charge in the case. Prosecutors will reportedly ask a grand jury to indict both Rice on murder charges, reported the LA Times.
James Anderson's family has been reluctant to speak with the media. Their reluctance is understandable. If these facts were known weeks ago, would the horrific murder still have captured the nation's attention? Sadly, the answer is probably "no".