Anderson Family: No Death Penalty | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Anderson Family: No Death Penalty

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James Craig Anderson was murdered in an alleged hate crime on June 26.

Sept. 13, 2011
Read the family's letter.

The family of a black man who was allegedly attacked and killed in a hate crime is asking Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith to not pursue the death penalty for the accused killer, Deryl Dedmon.

"Those responsible for James' death not only ended the life of a talented and wonderful man," Barbara Anderson Young wrote about her brother. "They also have caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. As Coretta Scott King stated in explaining her opposition to the death penalty: 'An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life.'

"Our opposition to the death penalty is deeply rooted in our religious faith, a faith that was central in James' life as well. Our Savior Jesus Christ rejected the old way of an eye for an eye and taught us instead to turn the other cheek."

Dedmon, 19, is charged with capital murder and John Aaron Rice, 18, is charged with simple assault. A pretrail hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Hinds County Courthouse.

Six other teens who were at the scene of the crime do not currently face criminal charges. Anderson's family and the Southern Poverty Law Center have filed a wrongful death suit against all the teenagers.

Also see: Family Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Teens.
and a photo gallery from Anderson's vigil.

Previous Comments

ID
164931
Comment

Such powerful words; bless their hearts: "They also have caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. As Coretta Scott King stated in explaining her opposition to the death penalty: 'An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in the taking of human life.'"

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-09-14T14:05:18-06:00
ID
164932
Comment

Oh, and be sure the read the whole letter (linked above). The last paragraph on the first page is amazing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-09-14T14:08:27-06:00
ID
164934
Comment

It seems to me the Anderson family is taking an admirable and humane position. I can't take a sold position however until I hear what Bubba T has to say. Bubba is a strong believer in the death penaly. So far as I can tell, he wanted everybody to get it that was accused, tried and convicted of capital murder. Bubba don't you think all participants in the crime should be tried for capital murder and executed once found guilty and given the death penalty? My limited understanding of the law tells me the prosecutor doesn't have to listen to the victims as he himself is charged with deciding how cases are to be charged and with doing justice. Some people think Mr. Smith must do what it takes to ensure this kind of behavior never occurred again. Bubba, I await your considerable opinion.

Author
Walt
Date
2011-09-14T16:43:05-06:00
ID
164940
Comment

Walt- No I don't think all the participants should be tried for capital murder,only Dedmon, he was the one who ran over Anderson. They do need to be charged with something that carries jail time. As for Dedmon getting the death penalty, if he is proven guilty, I have no problem with him getting the death penalty. As far as I am concerned he deserves it for what he did. No one should kill someone because of their race, that's unforgivable in my opinion. My 2 cents.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-09-14T20:32:14-06:00
ID
164943
Comment

Well, I may not do BubbaT justice, but I'll give it a crack. "Our opposition to the death penalty is deeply rooted in our religious faith, a faith that was central in James' life as well. Our Savior Jesus Christ rejected the old way of an eye for an eye and taught us instead to turn the other cheek." For once, I believe Walt is somewhat on the right track. I'm not a lawyer either, but Walt is correct in that the DA doesn't have to listen to the victim's family and friends when considering what and how to pursue a trial. If the DA decides to prosecute this as a hate crime, then his hand may be forced into seeking the death penalty. I, for one, would be interested to see the public outcry if the DA did indeed not pursue a hate crime prosecution...oh, the horror! With all due respect to Mr. Anderson's surviving family members, their beliefs being rooted in their religious convictions are that, their beliefs. Our nation's legal system is supposed to be blind to the influences of religion in how it metes justice. I, for one, feel that if the defendant is found guilty of murder, then the death penalty would be appropriate. I do not feel, though, that any others present, as Walt alludes to, would be convicted of murder as they did not participate actively. To be tried and convicted as an accessory to murder may not merit the death penalty (see my caveat earlier - I'm not an attorney).

Author
Darryl
Date
2011-09-15T07:12:12-06:00
ID
164957
Comment

Prosecuting a murder under hate crime statutes does not mandate the death penalty, does it? Lawyers? Isn't that still up to the D.A.?

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2011-09-15T19:22:07-06:00
ID
164961
Comment

With all due respect to the family's opinion and religious beliefs, I hope the D.A. pursues the death penalty for Dedmon. I have no desire to see this thug live out the rest of his life in prison.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2011-09-16T07:40:03-06:00
ID
164969
Comment

I'm glad to see Christians following the teachings of Christ... for a change. Powerful letter. What an amazing family.

Author
Tre
Date
2011-09-16T11:48:08-06:00

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