Convicted ringleader in Texas dragging death to be executed

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A man who orchestrated one of the most gruesome hate crimes in U.S. history faces execution in Texas.

John William King is scheduled for lethal injection Wednesday evening in the June 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas.

The 44-year-old King, who is white and an avowed racist, was put on death row for chaining Byrd to the back of a truck and dragging his body along a secluded road outside Jasper, Texas. Prosecutors said Byrd was targeted because he was black.

The hate crime put a national spotlight on Jasper, which was branded with a racist stigma it has tried to shake off ever since.

King would be the second man executed in the case. A third man received a life sentence.

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