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Three white men who viciously beat and ran over 47-year-old car plant worker James Craig Anderson in 2011 were sentenced to federal prison for what they admitted was the result of them “hunting black people to attack.”

The young men, Deryl Paul Dedmon, John Aaron Rice, and Dylan Wade Butler, were sentenced to 50 years, 18 and a half years, and seven years respectively for commission of a hate crime. Dedmon also faces two life sentences in a Mississippi prison. The men, ranging in age from 21 to 23, are all from Brandon, Mississippi.

“What these people did was ugly, painful and sad and criminal,” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said.

During sentencing, the group apologized to the family for the brutal killing of Anderson.

“I want to tell the Anderson family how truly sorry I am,” Dedmon said.

The apologies came after an impassioned condemnation of their actions from Anderson’s sister.

Barbara Anderson Young said her brother’s death came “at the hands of these strangers with eyes full of hatred.”

She said her brother “helplessly fought to stay alive” as he was attacked by people he did not know.

“My God have mercy on your sinful souls,” Young said.

Dedmon, Rice, and Butler pleaded guilty in March 2012 to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime. According to the AP, all three were sentenced to five years on the conspiracy count to run concurrent with the other. Dedmon was driving the vehicle that ran over Anderson in a parking lot — in his case, Reeves said the federal sentence would run concurrent with his state sentence.

The surveillance video, obtained by The Associated Press and other media, 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.

Before sentencing the three, Reeves told the courtroom that the Anderson’s death reflected the “inhumanity of racism” with which Mississippi has dealt throughout its history.

“The sad thing is these … hunts were instigated by our children, these kids,” said Reeves, who is black. “The victims were targeted because of their race. These three defendants and others made a joint decision to act on racial hatred.”

Seven others associated with the crime will be sentenced in the coming weeks. See the full list here.


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