*Well, this is surely a case that shows how people who commit horrible crimes are dealt with differently according to race.
While the incident happened nearly four years ago, the sentencing just occurred on Thursday and two young white women received the maximum sentence for their role in a Mississippi hate crime that left James Craig Anderson, a black man, dead.
The women belonged to a gang recognized for hunting, harassing and killing African Americans for sport.
During a reading of their sentence by U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate, Sara Adelia Graves and Shelbie Brooke Richards were given five years and eight years respectively.
Those were the maximum sentences available under the women’s plea agreements. But Wingate said he wished he could send the women away for longer prison terms, and did not even want to entertain the reading of letters he received from supporters of the two women portraying their presence as an accident or one-time incident.
“I feel this defendant, as well as the other one, could have been charged with a much more serious count than the one that they are pleading guilty to,” Wingate said after rejecting a call from Richards’ attorney to sentence her to only the five years that Graves received.
Richards, the youngest of the two, claimed, “It was the worst decision of my life and pleaded guilty to both conspiracy and concealing a crime (she lied to police). “I followed a lot of people with hate in their hearts.”
While Graves, who only pleaded guilty to conspiracy, blamed her hateful actions on youth and immaturity. “I was a teenager who partied too much and wanted to fit in with the crowd, and I’ve asked myself so many times, ‘Why was I so afraid? Why was I so stupid? Why did I drink so much?’”
Imagine, torturing and killing people because you wanted to fit in.
The two gang members, who admitted to recruiting people at a party to participate in the murder of Anderson, helped torture Anderson by beating him up first then riding shotgun in the truck that Deryl Paul Dedmon ran him over with. The incident was captured on a hotel surveillance camera.
Dedmon was sentenced to two life terms.
Six white men received their sentences earlier by a different judge, with prison terms ranging from four to 50 years for Anderson’s death. Two others are awaiting their sentences over similar gang-related activities.
Though the gang is known for their motives, no other victims have yet to be named.
Anderson’s family actually showed compassion for the gang members who murdered their loved one; and asked that they not get the death penalty.
The gang made it a practice to patrol the neighborhood looking for homeless or drunken black people. And if Anderson had not been murdered, no investigations would have occurred. The death caused the federal government to pursue investigations; which they completed on April 9.
John Louis Blalack, 20, and Robert Henry Rice, 21, also members of the gang, have both pleaded guilty to felony hate crime. Blalack faces up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $500,000 while Rice will go to jail for 10 years with up to $250,000 in fines.
Both Blalack and Rice were present on the night Anderson was killed.
All in all, 10 people pleaded guilty to being involved in the killings.