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Mississippi Teen Pleads Guilty to Race-Hate Murder

Deryl Dedmon gets life for running over black man
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 1:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A white Mississippi teenager who murdered a black man because of the color of his skin has received two life sentences after pleading guilty to killing the victim by driving over him with his pickup in a hate crime. Authorities say Deryl Dedmon, 19, was part of a group of rural teens who decided to drive to Jackson to attack black people after a night of drinking last summer. The gang found auto worker James Craig Anderson, 47, and beat him up before Dedmon ran him over. Other teens in the group are expected to face charges for that attack and others, notes AP.

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Dedmon told the court that he used to be young and ignorant, and was now a changed and godly man. But the judge said nothing could excuse what he did. "Your prejudice has brought shame upon you, and placed a great stain on the state of Mississippi," he said. Dedmon could have faced the death penalty, but his victim's family asked prosecutors not to pursue it. "We are praying for racial reconciliation, not only in Mississippi but all over this land and country," his victim's sister said. "We are praying for the defendant Dedmon and his family that they find peace." (Read more Deryl Dedmon stories.)

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