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Hinds DA Believes June Attack A Hate Crime

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Aug 2011 04:30pm | comments
Robert Shuler Smith.

The lead prosecutor in Hinds County says they have evidence that the murder of an African-American in jackson is a hate crime.  MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that a grand jury will have to decide if the defendants will face hate crime charges.

So far, two 18-year old Brandon men are charged in connection with the June attack on 49-year old James Anderson, who was beaten and run down by a truck....but suspects are white and the victim is black.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says reports about the attack show that the Caucasian teens used racial slurs before, during and after the assault.

"It was reported that there were racial slurs used from the very beginning of this event in Brandon. And of course ended up in Jackson where there were several racial slurs used at the crime scene and afterwards," Smith said.

A Grand Jury is expected to meet this fall to determine if the two men will face hate crime charges.

Smith says if they are tried and convicted, then the prosecution presents what they consider evidence of a hate crime to the jury....which can double the sentence.

"No one is ever going to make someone live next door to the other. But I think we can start to educate our young people and prevent them from being hateful...I hope," Smith said.

Currently, 18-year old Derly Dedmon is charged with murder and 18-year old John Rice is charged with simple assault....although many more teens were allegedly involved.

Smith says the investigation is still on going, leaving the door open for others to face charges.

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Robert Shuler Smith.


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