James Byrd Jr: Killer to be executed for infamous hate crime



This handout mugshot obtained courtesy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on April 23, 2019 shows the booking photo of John William King from December 2017. - John William King, is set to be executed on April 24, 2019, barring a last-minute stay of execution, for the murder of James Byrd Jr. after he was dragged behind a pickup truck for over 3 miles in June 7, 1998.Picture copyright
Texas Division of Felony Justice through AFP

Picture caption

John William King is seen because the ringleader of the trio that attacked James Byrd Jr

One in all three males convicted within the 1998 homicide of James Byrd Jr, one in every of fashionable America’s worst hate crimes, is to be executed in Texas.

Byrd, a black man, was overwhelmed, chained to a truck and dragged for miles by King, an avowed white supremacist, and two different white males.

His homicide prompted Congress to move hate crime laws in 2009.

John William King, 44, is the second man to be executed over the slaying. He has filed a number of appeals in his case.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole voted unanimously to disclaim King a commutation or a 120-day reprieve.

Final October, the US Supreme Courtroom declined to take up his enchantment, and so, barring a last-minute keep, King shall be executed on Wednesday night, at 18:00 native time (23:00 GMT).

Picture copyright
F Carter Smith/Getty Pictures

King, a recognized racist with a felony document, was the primary white man to obtain a demise sentence for killing a black man in fashionable Texas historical past, in line with the New York Instances.

Prosecutors depicted him because the ringleader of the group of males who attacked Byrd.

Lawrence Russell Brewer, the opposite white supremacist who took half in Byrd’s killing, was executed in 2011, however King had been sentenced earlier.

The third man concerned, Shawn Allen Berry, was spared the demise sentence and is serving a life sentence as a substitute as he didn’t share the white supremacist beliefs of Brewer and King.

He shall be up for parole in 2038, US media report.

Within the early hours of seven June 1998, in Jasper, Texas, Byrd, 49, encountered Brewer, King and Berry on the best way dwelling from a celebration.

The three males assaulted Byrd, then chained him by his ankles to the again of a pickup truck and dragged him for a number of miles till he was dismembered.

Police discovered components of Byrd’s physique in entrance of a black church simply exterior the town; the remaining was positioned over a mile away.

Authorities later adopted a blood path of proof – together with a lighter engraved with “KKK” and King’s nickname, Possum – putting the three males on the scene of the crime.

Picture copyright
PAul Buck/AFP/Getty Pictures

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John William King seen escorted into the Jasper County Courthouse in 1999

Throughout King’s trial, prosecutors confirmed proof detailing his hatred of black individuals, together with a letter he tried to ship Brewer in jail glorifying their homicide, the Washington Publish reported.

“Whatever the final result of this, we’ve made historical past and shall die proudly remembered if want be… A lot Aryan love, respect, and honor, my brother in arms.”

He had spoken of beginning a race conflict and of initiating members of a white supremacist gang he belonged to by having them kidnap and homicide black individuals, court docket paperwork confirmed.

King was convicted by a jury that deliberated simply over two hours.

The case sparked nationwide horror and outrage, and in 2001, Texas handed the James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act to toughen punishments for such crimes.

Congress adopted, enacting the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 to strengthen legal guidelines towards crimes dedicated over an individual’s race, color, faith, sexual orientation, gender, incapacity or nationwide origin.

King has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to enchantment his case on the state and federal stage. He has maintained he’s harmless, blaming Berry alone for the homicide, and arguing that his legal professionals didn’t correctly defend him.

Jasper’s former sheriff, Billy Rowles, informed the Publish that King’s execution would lastly present closure for the group.

“It has been an extended wait and now it is right here, and I consider everyone will really feel that that is the closure they wanted.”

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