Deryl Dedmon, the 19-year-old white Mississippi teen, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-crime charges after running over and killing 49-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson in June of 2011.
Dedmon ran over Anderson with his pickup truck but will not face the death penalty.
Prosecutors trying the case recommended he serve two life sentences.
According to the Associated Press, Dedmon apologized to Anderson’s family saying in the courtroom: “I do not ask y’all to forget, but I do ask y’all to forgive.”
As members of his family and the victim’s family wiped away tears, he said God has taught him not to see color and he is a changed man.
According to police, seven white teens were partying in the early morning hours on June 26, 2011, when Dedmon suggested they find a black man to harass. Police say Anderson was beaten before Dedmon ran him down before dawn.
Another teenager, John Aaron Rice, is charged with simple assault in the case. Authorities said he left the scene before Anderson was killed.
There was video taken by the hotel surveillance camera which shows a white Jeep Cherokee in which Rice was allegedly a passenger leaving a hotel parking lot at 5:05 a.m.
Less than 20 seconds later, a Ford truck backs up and then lunges forward. Anderson’s shirt is illuminated in the headlights before he disappears under the vehicle next to the curb. Police say Dedmon was driving the truck and later bragged that he ran over Anderson, using a racial slur to describe him.
Dedmon was indicted for capital murder, which in Mississippi is defined as murder committed along with another felony. It carries the sentences of death or life in prison without parole.
Anderson’s family had asked prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty, saying they oppose capital punishment. Anderson’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against all seven teens, including two young girls who were allegedly in the truck with Dedmon.