Aryan Brotherhood Kingpin Gets 50 'Very Hard Years'
Sentence keeps James Byrd out of federal prison
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2015 4:35 AM CST
This picture released by Texas prosecutors shows James Byrd.   (Texas District & County Attorneys Association)

(Newser) – James Byrd is a sadistic, ruthless Aryan Brotherhood of Texas kingpin, and prosecutors have won a long fight to keep him out of federal prison. Instead, Tarrant County prosecutor Allenna Bangs tells the Houston Chronicle, the 45-year-old will serve a 50-year sentence in a Texas state prison, where his gang affiliation will be enough to have him kept in solitary, unable to conduct the white supremacist gang's business in a prison yard. In federal prison, such gang involvement doesn't justify solitary. "He will be in a box for 23 hours a day," Bangs tells the Chronicle. "That will be 50 very hard years." She says it was tough to secure a conviction against Byrd since most witnesses—including a man he stabbed 37 times in the face—were too terrified to testify against him. He was eventually convicted of directing gang activities.

Prosecutors say Byrd's brutality helped him rise through the gang's ranks in prison and he was just as savage during five months of freedom he had beginning in late 2013, when he worked as a gang enforcer among ex-cons. In an attack that landed him back in prison, prosecutors say Byrd stabbed a fellow gang member, soaked a slice of white bread in his blood, and then ate half. The bleeding gang member was then ordered to eat the other half. "This guy was like an episode of Sons of Anarchy," Tarrant County prosecutor Joshua Ross tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He was a true believer. His dedication bordered on theology. For him, the brotherhood came first." (It turns out the Nazis' ideal Aryan baby was actually Jewish.)