A white Mississippi teen was sentenced to life in prison following the June 2011 murder of a 47-year-old black man. Deryl Dedmon, 19, pleaded guilty to murder and a hate crime in James Craig Anderson's death.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill sentenced Dedmon to two life terms.
"This craven act isn't who we are. Whatever excuse you offer, forget that. There is no excuse. The state of Mississppi condemns this despicable crime," Weill told CNN.
Dedmon admitted to partying with a group of white teens in Puckett, Mississippi and deciding to find a black man to harass. The group found Anderson before dawn outside a hotel. They beat him and ran over him in Dedmon's pickup truck.
Dedmon showed remorse in the courtroom, reading a letter of guilt and apology to the victim's family before receiving his life sentence. The 19-year-old admitted this wasn't the first time he had intentionally harassed and assaulted someone for racial differences.
"I wish I could take it all back. I was young and dumb, ignorant and full of hatred. I chose to go down the wrong path," Dedmon told The New York Times.
The murder is the latest racial hate crime in Mississippi.
USA Today reported that Barbara Anderson Young, the victim's sister, said, "We are praying for racial reconciliation not just in Mississippi but all over this land and country."
Anderson's family asked that the death penalty not be considered in the case. They filed a wrongful death lawsuit against seven teens who were with Dendon the night of the murder.