HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press
JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Two young white men were looking for a black man to assault in Mississippi’s largest city when one of them ran over a 49-year-old African-American with a pickup truck after he had been assaulted, killing the man, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
The hate crime allegations resonated in Mississippi, which long had a history for racial violence against blacks, particularly during the civil rights struggle.
James Anderson was run over by a Ford pickup outside a Jackson hotel near dawn on June 26 and died later in hospital, District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said during a bond hearing for Deryl Dedmon, who is accused of driving the truck.
Dedmon and John Aaron Rice, both 18 are also accused of assaulting Anderson before he was run down. Both are charged with murder in Anderson’s death.
“It was an intentional act and it was a hate crime,” the prosecutor said.
Judge Ali Shamsiddeen increased Dedmon’s bail to $800,000 from $50,000 after he heard more details about the hate crime allegations.
“Dedmon murdered this victim because he was a black man,” Smith said. “We do have information that they were rejoicing after killing the victim.”
Smith said Dedmon called a friend after the alleged crime and said, “I just ran that nigger over.”
Dedmon’s attorney, Lee Agnew, said during court that he’s seen nothing to back up the “racial allegations.” Agnew had no comment after the hearing.
Dedmon, a thin teen with blond hair, shook his head from side-to-side when Smith questioned a police detective and suggested that Anderson had been run over several times.
Anderson was run over in a part of Jackson known for drug activity, though an attorney for his relatives said the case had nothing to do with drugs. Dedmon was arrested later that morning after being pulled over on the freeway. Witnesses provided police with a description of the truck and authorities were looking for it.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.