The white Mississippi teenager charged with deliberately running down a Black gay man has pleaded guilty to capital murder. Nineteen-year-old Deryl Dedmon was sentenced on Wednesday to two life sentences in the horrific killing of James Craig Anderson, reports CNN.
Meanwhile: Dedmon and two accomplices pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges this afternoon in Jackson, reports CNN. The three defendants admitted to "harassing and assaulting" random Black people on several occasions.
Deryl Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and Dylan Butler each admitted to conspiracy and violating the 2009 federal hate-crimes law in last June's killing of James Craig Anderson. They face sentences of up to life in prison and $250,000 in fines, federal prosecutors said.
The 19-year-old Dedmon had already pleaded guilty to state murder and hate-crime charges Wednesday in a state court and was sentenced to life in prison. Rice, 19, and Butler, 20, made their initial appearances with Dedmon in federal court Thursday morning.
In court Thursday, all three admitted to harassing and assaulting African-Americans on several occasions in the weeks before Anderson's death, hurling beer bottles, firing slingshots and driving at them with cars, prosecutors said. They targeted people they believed to be drunk or homeless, believing them less likely to report the attacks. They are also expected to testify against other teens implicated in Anderson's killing, two sources close to the proceedings told CNN.
James C. Anderson died on the morning of June 26 in a Jackson motel parking lot. The 48-year-old Anderson had a long-term male partner of almost two decades and they were raising a daughter.
Surveillance video shows two carloads of teenagers driving into the parking lot. Several approached Anderson, who was beaten and robbed. The video shows Anderson being struck by a truck. Witnesses report one teenager yelled "white power" and the driver of the pickup shouted the n-word.
Dedmon has a history of bullying, racial and homophobic intimidation, and is being investigated for allegedly committing other hate violence.
Anderson's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September against the seven white teenagers that police say were involved in the gruesome crime. Anderson's long-term partner is prevented by Mississippi law and the Defense of Marriage Act from joining the legal action. Anderson's partner was also prevented by Mississippi law from making end of life decisions.