White supremacist convicted in dragging death of James Byrd Jr to be executed this week
A white supremacist who orchestrated the chaining of a Black man behind a pickup truck and brutally dragging him to death, is scheduled to die by execution on Wednesday.
John William King was the ringleader in the grisly slaying of James Byrd Jr in Jasper, Texas in 1998, The Daily Mail reports.
An accomplice, Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011 for the viscous hate crime. Another participant, Shawn Allen Berry, is currently serving life in prison.
The three white men brutally beat Byrd after offering him a ride on June 7, 1998. The men then chained Byrd to the back of their pick-up truck, and tore his body to pieces by dragging him more than three miles.
The murder was called one of the most gruesome hate crimes in US history.
“Hate has not gone away,” Byrd’s sister, Mylinda Washington told reporters. “Every week in the news, we’re reminded of that.”
The family went on to create the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing and according to Louvon Byrd Harris, another one of Byrd’s sisters, the family wants to build a multicultural museum in an effort to foster diversity and cultural inclusivity and education.
According to the Associated Press, a park was named for Byrd and a bench in his honor was placed outside the courthouse where two of his killers were tried in 2018. Nothing in Jasper memorializes the dragging death itself.
The bench is engraved with the words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”