A federal judge has ordered four Mississippi men convicted of killing a Black man to pay more than $800,000 to his estate.
According to The Washington Post, the ruling was made on Monday in a restitution case prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ordered Dylan Wade Butler, Deryl Paul Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and William Kirk Montgomery to pay $840,000 in restitution, said The Associated Press.
The ruling is the final chapter in the murder case of James Craig Anderson. Anderson was killed by a group of white teenagers who had ventured into a predominately Black part of Jackson, Miss. looking to target homeless Black men. However they attacked Anderson, an auto plant worker, who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. What was particularly bad about the attack is after they beat Anderson, the teenagers then ran him over with their truck. The attack was captured on the security camera of a nearby motel.
Ten young people were eventually sentenced for the crime. The four men received sentences ranging from seven to 50 years in jail for hate crimes and conspiracy charges.
Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said she hoped the settlement would help make the lives of Anderson’s survivors easier.
“Although no amount of money will ever be able to account for the true value of James Craig Anderson’s life, we hope that this restitution will help ease the burden on his family,” Gupta said in a statement.
Reeves, who is Mississippi’s second Black federal judge, delivered a powerful message to the young men when he handed down their sentence last February. He said their crime, which was a modern-day lynching, was just one in a long list of extrajudicial killings carried out in Mississippi over two centuries.
He said their crimes had reopened old wounds.
“Despite much progress and the efforts of the new generations, these three defendants are before me today … They and their co-conspirators ripped off the scab of the healing scars of Mississippi … causing her [our Mississippi] to bleed again.,” he said. “… A toxic mix of alcohol, foolishness and unadulterated hatred caused these young people to resurrect the nightmarish specter of lynchings and lynch mobs from the Mississippi we long to forget. … This was the 2011 version of the n***er hunts.”
He also lamented the crime was committed by young people who were still in high school.
In spite of video evidence of the young people committing a heinous crime, some of their family members still defended them as “good old boys” who fell in with the wrong crowd.
“He is not a racist or a murderer,”said Rice’s great aunt. “If anything, he is being tried by the media, suffering from reverse racism and placed in jail without bond. I am sick of the race card.”
But the teens shouted racial epithets as they attacked Anderson and bragged about “running that n***er over” after they hit him with the truck.
Anderson’s family told The New York Times, he was known to be a good cook, sharp dresser and was rarely in a bad mood.
“If you met him, the first thing you were going to see was that grand-piano smile,” said his sister, Barbara Anderson Young.