James Craig Anderson
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The last of 10 young White people who repeatedly assaulted African-Americans in Mississippi’s capital city received the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison Friday, completing a long-running federal prosecution in the case.
The string of assaults ended in the June 2011 death of autoworker James Craig Anderson, who was beaten and run over by a truck in a hotel parking lot.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate sentenced Robert Henry Rice of Brandon to 10 years. Rice had pleaded guilty to one felony hate crime charge in January.
The attack on Anderson was the last of a series of forays that a group of White men and women made into Jackson to assault Black people. Hotel surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press and other media outlets, shows a Ford truck back 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.
Rice participated in at least three earlier attacks but wasn’t present when Anderson died. Wingate ruled last week that he had to base Rice’s sentence on aggravated assault charges and not Anderson’s death. Officials then said they wanted to recalculate Rice’s proposed sentence to account for multiple assaults and not just one.
Six White men and two White women were sentenced earlier, receiving federal prison terms ranging from four years to 50 years. Deryl Dedmon, who was driving the truck that ran over Anderson, also received two life sentences in state prison. He pleaded guilty in a Mississippi court in 2012 to capital murder and hate crime.
Lawyers indicated in court last week that an 11th person, a juvenile, also faces proceedings in the case. A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis said officials aren’t allowed to discuss federal juvenile proceedings.
Besides Anderson’s killing, defendants admitted 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 when Rice was driving. None of the other victims has been publicly identified.
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