Federal prosecutors announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted the following people for allegedly participating in the a conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes against African-Americans in Jackson:
John Louis Blalack, 20, of Brandon
Sarah Adelia Graves, 21, of Crystal Springs
Robert Henry Rice, 23, of Brandon
Shelbie Brooke Richards, 20, of Pearl
Blalack, Graves and Richards are additionally charged with a racially motivated hate crime that resulted in the death of James Craig Anderson. Anderson was killed in 2011 when another member of their group, Deryl Dedmon, ran Anderson down with his truck.
A news release from the Justice Department states: "Blalack and Rice are charged with two additional racially motivated hate crimes involving alleged assaults, and with carrying a firearm in relation to one of those assaults.
"Graves and Richards are additionally charged with soliciting others to commit hate crimes against African-Americans, and Graves is charged with making false statements to the FBI. Defendants Deryl Paul Dedmon, 20; John Aaron Rice, 19; Dylan Wade Butler, 21; William Kirk Montgomery, 23; Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 20; and Joseph Dominick, 22, all from Brandon, have previously entered guilty pleas in connection with their roles in these offenses.
"The indictment alleges that, beginning in the spring of 2011, the defendants and others conspired with one another to harass and assault African-American people in and around the Jackson area. According to the indictment, on numerous occasions, the co-conspirators used dangerous weapons, including beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles, to cause, and attempt to cause, bodily injury to African-American people. The co-conspirators are alleged to have specifically targeted African-American people they believed to be homeless or under the influence of alcohol because they believed that such individuals would be less likely to report an assault. The co-conspirators would often boast about these racially motivated assaults. The indictment details several such assaults, including the fatal assault on a victim who was intentionally run over.
The defendants face a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison."