Deryl Paul Dedmon, james craig anderson, John Aaron Rice, John Louis Blalack, National, News, Race, robert henry rice, Sarah Adelia Graves -

2 White Women In Mississippi, Part of Racist Gang, Sentenced to 5 and 8 Years in Prison for Killing Black Man

Deryl Paul Dedmon, james craig anderson, John Aaron Rice, John Louis Blalack, National, News, Race, robert henry rice, Sarah Adelia Graves -

2 White Women In Mississippi, Part of Racist Gang, Sentenced to 5 and 8 Years in Prison for Killing Black Man

UPTOWN_Sarah-Adelia-Graves-and-Shelbie-Brooke-RichardsTwo young white women, part of a large racist gang that repeatedly searched Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson for Black people to attack, were sentenced to five years and eight years in prison Thursday for their role in their reign of terror.

In separate hearings, U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate sentenced Sara Adelia Graves and Shelbie Brooke Richards. Graves pleaded guilty in December to a conspiracy count and received the five-year sentence. Richards, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and concealing the crime by lying to police, received eight years.

Both Graves and Richards were riding in a truck driven by Deryl Paul Dedmon that ran over James Craig Anderson, a Black man, in June 2011. Anderson died after being beaten and run over.

Six white men have been sentenced earlier by a different judge, receiving prison terms ranging from four years to 50 years. Two more men await sentencing after Thursday.

John Louis Blalack, 20, and Robert Henry Rice, 21, were the ninth and 10th members of the gang of men and women to take a plea for the killing of Anderson, 47.

The gang of assailants spread their reign of hate over much of the spring of 2011, roaming Jackson and randomly selecting victims to abuse. In its last attack, Anderson was killed, sparking a federal investigation that finally ended yesterday.

Blalack pleaded guilty to two felony hate crimes charges in an agreement with prosecutors. He faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000. Rice pleaded guilty to one felony hate crime charge. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Blalack was one of seven people present the night that Anderson was killed. Answering questions from the judge in court, he admitted between tears and sometimes in a whisper that he helped collect beer bottles from a birthday party and bonfire to use as missiles, and rode to Jackson in a Jeep.

“Our intentions of where we were going, I knew our intentions were wrong,” Blalack said.

It was the last of less than 10 forays into what Blalack said the gang called “Jafrica”—a combination of Jackson and Africa—to assault Black people. It ended in a hotel parking lot where the group spotted Anderson, who appeared to be intoxicated. Blalack said he helped distract Anderson while a second truck came, and then watched as John Aaron Rice and Deryl Paul Dedmon beat Anderson. As Dedmon left in the second truck, he ran over Anderson.

All this was recorded on a hotel surveillance camera, drawing widespread national attention.

Both women have acknowledged that they helped recruit people at a birthday party to take part in the venture that eventually led to Anderson’s death. Richards admitted that she encouraged Dedmon to assault Anderson when they arrived in a hotel parking lot, and then yelled a racial slur and encouraged Dedmon to run over Anderson when Dedmon returned to the truck.

Hotel surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press and other media outlets, shows a Ford truck back

James Craig Anderson was killed in 2011 when attacked by a gang of whites.
James Craig Anderson was killed in 2011 when attacked by a gang of whites

up and then lunge forward at 5:05 a.m. Anderson’s shirt is illuminated in the headlights before he disappears under the vehicle next to the curb.

Richards also acknowledged that later that month she lied to Jackson police detectives about the incident and her participation.

The 10 defendants have pleaded guilty to other racially motivated attacks, including the beating of a Black man near a Jackson golf course, the beating of another man who tried to sell the suburbanites drugs, attacks on pedestrians using beer bottles and a slingshot, and an attempt to run down another Black man.

Prosecutors said the suspects usually sought out people who were homeless or drunk. Other than Anderson, the Black people who were assaulted have not been identified.


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