The Latest: Dragging death ringleader stoic before execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the execution of ringleader of dragging death of James Byrd Jr. nearly 21 years ago. (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Prison officials say condemned killer John William King is stoic as he awaits execution for the death of a black East Texas man who was chained to the back of a truck and fatally dragged along a road nearly 21 years ago.

The 44-year-old King, a white avowed racist, arrived midafternoon Wednesday at the prison in Huntsville, Texas, where he’s scheduled for lethal injection for James Byrd Jr.’s June 1998 slaying.

Prison agency spokesman Jeremy Desel says King said little following his transfer to Huntsville from death row, at a prison 45 miles (72 kilometers) away. King has declined any counseling from a chaplain and has selected no one to witness his punishment.

Two of Byrd’s sisters and a niece are to witness the execution.


12 a.m.

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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