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Mississippi: White Teen Gets Life for Hate Crime
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“I was young, I was dumb, I was ignorant,” said nineteen-year old Deryl Dedmon while the Circuit Court Judge, Jeff Weill Sr. handed down two concurrent life sentences for the racially motivated murder of James Craig Anderson,  beaten and mowed to death in a motel parking lot.

Dedmon pleaded guilty of running over the man just because he was an African American.

“I was full of hatred,” admitted Dedmon to the court.

  
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Anderson, who worked in Nissan, was returning to his car on June 26, 2011 when a group of white teenagers sprang up before him and blocked his way in the motel parking lot. Dedmon hit Anderson yelling “White Power!” while another group member also hit Anderson, who fell to ground. Then Dedmon deliberately ran over the fallen Anderson with his Ford F-250 truck.

Unlike the incident of ‘self-defense’ last week when a neighborhood watch captain in Florida gunned down an unarmed black teenager, Dedmon’s act was accidentally recorded by a nearby hotel security camera. That caused all the problems.

Dedmon admitted to the prosecution that he and his friends had visited Jackson several times with the intentions of harassing and assaulting African Americans. Ostensibly, the only act of violence they ever committed was the one that got caught on the security camera.

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The judge, addressing the courtroom during the sentence said, “Know that this craven act isn’t who we are … We can say this now. Maybe there was a time when we couldn’t.”

Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Scot Rogillio told the media that the teens had been drinking at a birthday party and were specifically looking out for African Americans to assault.  “We expect more charges coming in the near future,” said Rogillio.



John Aaron Rice, another friend of Dedmon , has been charged with simple assault, while further investigation continues at state and federal levels.

Dedmon apologized to Anderson’s family members who had requested prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.

Mississippi has a legacy of racial hate offenses. As reported by Reuters, the Klu Klux Klan was very active in the state for decades and parts of the group still remain.



 

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