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White Teen Pleads Guilty To Racially Motivated Murder

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 22 Mar 2012 11:24am | comments
Deryl Dedmon-AP Photo Rogelio Solis

A white Mississippi teen could face more charges today in federal court after confessing to a racially motivated murder. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports 19-year old Deryl Dedmon admitted to murder and a hate crime in a Hinds County Court room yesterday.

With his feet and hands chained, Deryl Dedmon shuffled into the Hinds County courtroom, past his weeping family and the family of the man he confessed to beating and running over with his truck.

"I was young. I was dumb. I was ignorant. I was full of hatred, envy and strife," Dedmon said.

Dedmon was part of a group of white teens that police and prosecutors say sought out black people to attack following a party this past June.

They found and attacked 49-year old James Craig Anderson of Jackson.

Dedmon gazed at the floor as assistant district Attorney Scott Rogillio told the court what happened after the beating.

"The defendant than saw the victim, Mr. Anderson, appear in his headlights just past the exit of the hotel on the side of the road. And the defendant deliberately used his vehicle to run over the victim,"

Members of both families sat just feet apart in the court room sobbing quietly.

Anderson's sister Barbara Anderson Young addressed the court describing her brother caring with a big heart while calling for peace and forgiveness.

"We the Anderson family are praying for racial conciliation. Not only in Mississippi but all over this land and country. We are praying for the defendant, Dedmon, and his family that they find peace," Young said.

Dedmon showed little emotion throughout the proceeding even as he turned toward the Anderson family and look directly at them to apologize for the murder.

"I am sincerely sorry. I do take full responsibility for my actions on that night. I also ask God for forgiveness for my sins daily. I know I repented from all those wicked ways and that I do no more evil. I did a very malicious thing on that night for no reason. I wish I could take it all back and restore what your family has lost," Dedmon said.

Hinds County Judge Jeff Weill condemned him for his actions and sentenced him to two life terms.

"The very walls of this courtroom cry out for justice. You have admitted killing a man simply because of his race. Your prejudice has brought shame upon you and placed a great stain on the state of Mississippi. All the hard work we have done to move our state forward from that earthen dam in Neshoba County to here has been stained by you. A stain that will take years to fade," Weill said.

This case marks the first time that the state has used hate crime laws that have been on the books for two decades.

The Hinds County District Attorney says this confession does not mark the end of prosecutions related to the murder.

So far just one other person has been charge...John Aaron Rice is facing a simple assault charge.





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