Three Brandon men plead guilty to two felony hate crime charges today in the case that resulted in the death of James Craig Anderson, of Jackson.
Dylan Wade Butler, 20, John Aaron Rice, 19, and Deryl Paul Dedmon, 19, were charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act. Conspiracy holds a maximum charge of $250,000 and up to five years in prison. The violation charge holds a maximum fine of $250,000 and a sentence of up to life in prison.
Dedmon plead guilty Wednesday to murder charges in Hinds County Court. We was sentenced to two life terms, to be served concurrently.
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Divison Thomas E. Perez said the pleas "mark the first time the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was used in a case where the defendants' actions resulted in a victim's death."
Perez said the investigation into the murder is still ongoing. At least four other co-conspirators, referred to during today's hearing as Co-Conspirators A,B,C and D, are under investigation for involvement in the crime, which occurred on June 26, 2011.
The three will be sentenced in federal court on June 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Check back with jfp.ms for updates and more information on the hearing.
For more information on Dedmon's murder plea, visit Dedmon Pleads Guilty
The Department of Justice's press release can be read at: Three Mississippi Men Plead Guilty
View the charges against the three men: DOJ_Charges.pdf