White supremacist behind dragging death of James Byrd Jr. scheduled to be executed this week
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The ringleader behind the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr., who was chained to the back of a pickup truck by a group of white supremacists and dragged miles to his death, is scheduled to be executed this week.

According to The Associated Press, John William King is scheduled to be put to death on Wednesday for his role in Byrd’s death. King reportedly orchestrated the early morning attack on Byrd on June 7, 1998, that would later lead to Byrd’s body being left in pieces along a road near a stretch of woods in Jasper, Texas.

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Along with two other white supremacists named Lawrence Russell Brewer and Shawn Allen Berry, King reportedly stopped Byrd along a road to offer him a ride, only to beat him up and chain him to a pickup truck shortly after.

The three then reportedly dragged Byrd’s body for roughly three miles along a rugged road as his body shredded to pieces.

No motive for the three men’s murder of Byrd has been named, but prosecutors said he was targeted because of his race. 

Brewer was put to death in 2011 for Byrd’s murder, and Berry has been sentenced to life behind bars. 

In 2009, former President Obama signed the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to provide resources to “state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to help them to more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes,” according to the Justice Department.

Shepard, a gay man who was murdered over his sexuality, also died in 1998.