Texas Department of Criminal Justice
A Texas man is set to be executed Wednesday night for his part in the dragging death of a black man more than two decades ago in the East Texas town of Jasper, according to the Texas Tribune
John William King will become the second man executed for the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., considered a hate crime. King, Lawrence Brewer and Shawn Berry, all white, chained Byrd, a black man, to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him for three miles on a secluded road before dumping his remains in front of a church.
Medical examiners determined that Byrd, who was 49 at the time of his death, was alive during the first two miles his body was dragged, the AP reports
Brewer was executed in 2011 for his role in the murder while Berry is currently serving a life sentence, though he will be eligible for parole in 2038.
King has self-identified as an "avowed racist,"
with Ku Klux Klan symbols, a swastika and a lynched black man all tattooed on his body. He's also been affiliated with a white supremacist prison gang, according to the Tribune
King has claimed innocence, saying that he was dropped off at his apartment before Byrd's murder.
According to court documents, however, King previously wrote an incriminating note to Brewer
while the two were in prison: "Seriously, though, Bro, regardless of the outcome of this, we have made history and shall die proudly remembered if need be.... Much Aryan love, respect, and honor, my brother in arms."
The 44-year-old's execution date comes after he was sentenced to death in February 1999.
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