Shelbie Brooke Richards and Sarah Adelia Graves, two 21-year-old White women of Mississippi pleaded guilty to their role in killing James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old Black man. Both women are only facing a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine after they encouraged their friend, Deryl Paul Dedmon to run over the unsuspecting Black man they’d brutally beaten and robbed with a Ford F250 truck outside a hotel in Jackson, Mississippi.
According to the Daily Mail, Anderson’s assault was caught by a hotel surveillance camera, which has already resulted in the conviction of driver Dedmon who boasted afterwards to his friends, “I ran that n***** over.
The Clarion-Ledger originally reported that both Richards and Graves, from Brandon, MS, would be charged with one count of conspiring to violate the federal hate crime law–specifically the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act–and Richards for a misprision of a felony (which means she concealed information about the murder). Both Richards and Graves not only admitted to Anderson’s murder, but a string of attacks on Black people in Mississippi.
Since the court order for Richards and Graves, five of their friends may also potentially get sentences (John Aaron Rice, Dylan Wade Butler, William Kirk Montgomery, Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, and Joseph Dominick). Dedmon, Graves and Richards were all a part of a group of young White teens in Rankin County who would attack Black people of their choice.
Prosecutors said the suspects usually attacked people who were homeless or drunk and that the assailants used their fists, beer bottles, sling shots and vehicles to cause bodily harm to their victims. Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Mississippi Division says that “The FBI has continued its efforts to identify and bring to justice all those individuals who conspired to deprive Mr. Anderson and other African-American citizens of their civil rights simply because of the color of their skin.”
We still have a long way to go if White teens and adults are finding it plausible to commit crimes likes these without getting proper punishment. The case could be seen as a current focus on America’s lack of post-racial progress. At least Dedmon is currently facing life in prison.