The execution of white supremacist John William King will occur on Wednesday night for the murder of black man John Byrd Jr. in 1998.
King is believed to be the man who orchestrated the attack of Byrd on June 7, 1998. He and two more white men lured Byrd to their pickup truck by offering a ride in the early hours of that morning. They would beat Byrd and chain him to the truck and drag his body for three miles.
According to the Associated Press, Byrd was alive for two miles of the brutal dragging before his body was ripped apart in the racist attack.
King’s accomplices have already received their fate. Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011 while the other, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison.
The city of Jasper is attempting to show they are progressive by delivering a proper punishment to Byrd’s killers, however, the family of Byrd, along with additional citizens, state the city does not acknowledge the crime into history. Some in the community also believe there has been no adjustment in the racial relations of the area.
“I think, quite frankly, people in Jasper are tired of talking about it. They want to forget it,” said Mylinda Washington, 66, one of Byrd’s sisters. “It happened here, and we need to always have that in front of us.”
In 1998, the mayor of Jasper was African-American and was believed to be “incredibly progressive.” In 2012, after the firing of the city’s first black police chief, Jasper was once again a location of racial tension. What followed was two of the three Black city council members recalling out of the election and were met with racial slurs in doing so.