There are new developments in the horrific case of James Craig Anderson, the Black gay Mississippi man killed in a racially motivated beating and hit-and-run murder. Twenty-year-old Deryl Dedmon and two other white men pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges last March. A federal grand jury is considering more hate-crime charges, reports the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
Deryl Dedmon, 20, who was driving the truck, also pleaded guilty to state murder and hate-crime charges in March and was given two life sentences. Dedmon and two others, Dylan Butler and John Aaron Rice, await sentencing on the federal charges. Police have said at least four other people were at the scene on the night of Anderson's death, including two teenage girls who were in the truck with Dedmon. So far none of them have been charged, but an FBI spokeswoman said Thursday that the investigation continues. [...]
Prosecutors say Dedmon, Rice and Butler, and others from the suburbs, were involved in an ongoing campaign of harassing and assaulting blacks in Jackson. It's possible the grand jury could be looking into other attacks. Prosecutors say Dedmon and the others chose victims who appeared to be drunk or homeless for random assaults because they thought those people wouldn't tell police. The harassment culminated in Anderson's death, prosecutors say.
Surveillance video shows two carloads of teenagers driving into the parking lot of a Jackson motel on June 26, 2011. Several approached Anderson, who was beaten and robbed. The video also shows Anderson being struck by a truck. Witnesses report one teenager yelled "white power" and the driver of the pickup shouted the n-word.
The 48-year-old Anderson had a long-term male partner of almost two decades and they were raising a daughter together.
Anderson's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September 2011 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.
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