Skip to main content Accessibility

Alleged Killer in Mississippi Hate Crime was 'Good Boy,' Says Uncle

The horrifying – and apparently racially motivated – random killing of a black man in Jackson, Miss., in late June is gaining national attention after CNN obtained motel surveillance video of white teens running over the man with a large pickup truck.

Prosecutors have charged 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon with murder in the killing of James Craig Anderson, 49.  John A. Rice, 18, is charged with simple assault.

Dedmon allegedly was the ringleader of two carloads of white teens who, after a night of drinking, drove from mostly white Rankin County to Jackson 16 miles away, looking for a black person. Prosecutors allege that Dedmon suggested they “go f--- with some n------.”

It was about 5 a.m. on Sunday, June 26, when they found Anderson, who worked at a local automobile plant, in a motel parking lot near the interstate.

Yelling “white power” and various racial slurs, the teens brutally beat Anderson.  One group of teens left in an SUV, but another group, believed to be driven by Dedmon, got into a Ford F250 pickup truck and ran over Anderson, killing him instantly.

After the murder, Dedmon allegedly said in a cell phone call, “I ran that n----- over.” Prosecutors say he laughed about it.

“A good boy,” is how Ray Dedmon described his nephew, a slight, blond teen, in an interview with The New York Times. Ray Dedmon told the Times that his nephew comes from a “happy-go-lucky” family.

“He probably just got with the wrong crowd.”

The Hinds County, Miss., district attorney said that Dedmon and his friends had a history of “harassing white teens that had black friends or gay teens.”

On a Facebook page set up by Rice’s supporters, his great aunt posted: “He is not a racist or a murderer. 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.”

Apparently, Rice’s family members are not the only ones to share these sentiments. The white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (the reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils) called the story a “sickening double standard.”

“Every single day white people are murdered by blacks,” one post notes. “On the other hand, white on black violent crime is extremely rare.” The CCC described CNN and other news outlets as “gleefully reporting” the murder and that “the media is thankful for the crime.”

Anderson’s murder is chillingly reminiscent of other high-profile hate crimes involving gangs of youths motivated by racism. In November 2008, a group of seven teens in Suffolk County, N.Y., decided to go “b----- jumping,” one of many such expeditions. The group randomly spotted a 38-year-old Ecuadorean immigrant, Marcelo Lucero, and beat him while uttering racial slurs. One of the teens pulled out a knife and stabbed him to death.

Comments, suggestions or tips? Send them to and follow us on Twitter @Hatewatch.