Life sentence in hate crime case
(CNN) — A white Mississippi man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2011 murder of an African-American man, with the judge calling it an inexcusable, “despicable” crime.
Deryl Dedmon pleaded guilty to murder and a hate-crime charge before a judge in Jackson this afternoon, admitting to the June killing of James Craig Anderson. Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill sentenced him to two concurrent life terms, saying, “This craven act isn’t who we are.”
“Whatever excuse you offer, forget that. There is no excuse,” Weill said. He added, “The state of Mississippi condemns this despicable crime.”
Dedmon, 19, told the judge that he was a “changed man” who had found religion since his arrest.
“I wish I could take it all back,” he said, adding, “I was young and dumb, ignorant and full of hatred. I chose to go down the wrong path.”
Anderson’s killing prompted several large marches and prayer vigils in Jackson, a city of about 537,000 people. His sister, Barbara Anderson Young, said during Wednesday’s hearing that her family was praying for “racial conciliation.”