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John William King
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    (November 3, 1974-April 24, 2019)
    Born in Atlanta, Georgia
    White supremacist
    One of three men who lynched James Byrd, Jr. (June 7, 1998)
    Convicted of murder and sentenced to death
    Executed by lethal injection
    His tattoos included Nazi symbols, the words ‘Aryan Pride,’ and a black man hanging from a tree.
    Prior to Byrd’s murder he spent time in prison for burglary and violating parole.
    He was described by the other defendants as the ‘ringleader’ in Byrd’s lynching.
    He and his accomplices beat Byrd with a baseball bat, then tied him behind a pickup truck and dragged him for three miles.
    Byrd was killed halfway through the dragging when he was decapitated by a culvert.
    The three killers then dropped Byrd’s remains in front of an African-American church and went off to a barbecue.
    Then-governor George W. Bush used the fact that he was sentenced to death to argue that the state did not need a hate-crime law.
    One of his defense witnesses ended up testifying in court that King complained about black people ‘taking over everything.’
    He claimed to have been gang raped by black inmates while in prison.
    Byrd’s son Ross opposed his execution.

Credit: C. Fishel

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