JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The sister of a black Mississippi man killed in what authorities have labeled a hate crime is asking prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty against the man accused.

Barbara Anderson Young’s brother was run over and killed by a pickup truck in Jackson on June 26. Authorities say James Craig Anderson was targeted by white teenagers because of his race.

Young wrote a letter this week to Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, citing the family’s religious beliefs and opposition to capital punishment as reasons they don’t want anyone to face the death penalty.

Smith said Wednesday that the family’s wishes are “a very strong consideration that will weigh heavily in our decision.”

Deryl Dedmon is charged with capital murder that carries the possibility of a death sentence.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.