John William King, 44, was considered one of three males convicted for the homicide and, barring a keep, could be the second particular person to die for the crime that made information around the globe and helped encourage Congress to cross federal hate crime laws.
Byrd’s acquaintances instructed police they’d seen Byrd, who was black, at a celebration the evening of June 6, 1998, that he’d left round 2 a.m. and was later seen driving within the mattress of a pickup with three white males within the cab.
Authorities stated King, Lawrence Russell Brewer and Shawn Berry picked up Byrd and drove him to a secluded space the place they beat him and spray-painted his face earlier than tying a logging chain round his ankles and dragging him behind a pickup truck for nearly three miles.
King is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. (7 p.m. ET) at Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville.
A few of Byrd’s family have objected to King’s loss of life sentence.
Whereas most murders are brutal, the viciousness of Byrd’s killing shocked the world. NBA star Dennis Rodman got here ahead to pay for Byrd’s funeral. Filmmakers produced a number of documentaries. Artists together with Geto Boys, Drive-By Truckers and Will Smith referenced the violent saga of their songs. Maryland poet laureate Lucille Clifton penned an ode to Byrd.
King has lengthy maintained his innocence, as soon as sending a letter to the Dallas Morning Information that might later be used towards him. He has stated that the proof introduced in his case was circumstantial and that Berry was solely accountable for Byrd’s loss of life.
Although the motive was by no means particularly outlined, race was a theme in King’s trial. Prosecutors introduced proof that King had been an “exalted cyclops” of the white supremacist Accomplice Knights of America and frequently drew lynching scenes.
King is predicted to be the third prisoner executed in Texas this yr, after cop killer Robert Mitchell Jennings and triple assassin Billie Wayne Coble.