John William King, ringleader of one of the most gruesome hate crimes in history, is to be executed for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. nearly 21 years ago. What took so long???
John King, an avowed racist, chained the disabled James Byrd to the back of a truck and dragged his body for 3 miles along a secluded road in the piney woods outside Jasper, Texas.
The 49-year-old Byrd, was alive for at least 2 miles before his head was ripped from his body… June 7, 1998.
Prosecutors said Byrd was targeted because he was black.
King, also known as “Bill,” will be the second man executed in the case. Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011. The third participant, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison.
Mylinda Byrd Washington, Byrd’s sister, said she and her family will work through the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing to ensure her brother’s death continues to combat hate everywhere.
“I hope people remember him not as a hate crime statistic. This was a real person. A family man, a father, a brother and a son,” she said.