ABOVE PHOTO: Barbara Anderson Young, sister of James Craig Anderson, who was murdered by Deryl Dedmon, 19, reads a statement as Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Weill Sr., looks on, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Jackson, Miss. Dedmond pleaded guilty to murder and committing a hate crime and was given two concurrent life sentences. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, Pool)
By Jeff Amy
JACKSON, Miss. — A judge Monday ordered four white men convicted in the June 2011 beating and rundown death of a black autoworker in Mississippi to pay his heirs $840,000.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ordered 24-year-old Dylan Wade Butler, 23-year-old Deryl Paul Dedmon, 23-year-old John Aaron Rice and 26-year-old William Kirk Montgomery to make restitution to the beneficiaries of James Craig Anderson.
Anderson’s death came on the last of a series of forays to what the group called “Jafrica” – a combination of Jackson and Africa – to assault black people. It ended in a hotel parking lot where the group spotted Anderson, who appeared to be intoxicated. Rice and Dedmon beat Anderson as Butler, Montgomery and others watched. As Dedmon left in his truck, he ran over Anderson, inflicting fatal injuries recorded on a hotel security camera.
All four pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and hate crime charges, and the earliest is scheduled to be released in 2018. The men share the liability, but each could be required to pay the whole amount if others make no contributions.
“The purpose of this is to make the estate of James Anderson whole,” Reeves said. “I know it’s been a long, long process, but I certainly hope the healing has begun and certainly hope the healing continues for all.”
Dedmon was also convicted in a Mississippi state court in 2012 on counts of capital murder and hate crime, receiving two life sentences in state prison.
Barbara Anderson Young, Anderson’s sister, declined comment after the hearing.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the money is meant to help Anderson’s family, which included a male partner and a son.
“Although no amount of money will ever be able to account for the true value of James Craig Anderson’s life, we hope that this restitution will help ease the burden on his family,” Gupta said in a statement.
Defense attorneys and federal prosecutors agreed to the amount, saying that was how much Anderson was expected to earn over the rest of his life. Separate reports commissioned by prosecutors and Brumley, a federal public defender representing Butler, attempted to estimate the amount. Reeves sealed the reports, so it’s unclear by how much they differed.
Three people sentenced by another judge also face a restitution hearing. Brumley said the government is likely to seek that they be included in the same amount.
Two other men convicted of assaulting other African-Americans – Joseph Paul Dominick and Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp – won’t have to pay restitution because the government has never found their victims, prosecutor Sheldon Beer told Reeves.