White Mississippi Teen Gets Life Sentence In Black Man’s Death

A white Mississippi teenager pleaded guilty on Wednesday to fatally running over a man with a truck because he was black, and received a life prison sentence for a crime the presiding judge said left “a great stain” on the southern state.

Deryl Dedmon, 19, received two concurrent life sentences for the racially motivated murder of 49-year-old James Craig Anderson, who died after being beaten and mowed down in a motel parking lot last year. Dedmon’s admission that he killed Anderson because of his race doubled the teen’s penalty under the state’s hate crime statute.

“I was young, I was dumb, I was ignorant,” Dedmon said during his court hearing in Jackson. “I was full of hatred.”

The sentencing came as the shooting death of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain in Florida has again put a national spotlight on the issue of members of minority groups being targeted due to the color of their skin. Anderson, a Nissan auto worker, was alone and returning to his car before dawn on June 26 when he was confronted by a group of white teenagers in a motel parking lot.

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