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Two women are facing prison after they admitted this week to encouraging their friend to run over and kill a black man with his pick up during a deliberate mission to target and attack African Americans.
James Anderson, was run over by a Ford F250 truck outside a hotel in Jackson, Mississisppi, after being brutally beaten and robbed in 2011.
His assault was caught by a hotel surveillance camera – which has already resulted in the conviction of driver Deryl Dedmon who boasted afterwards to his friends - ‘I ran that n***** over.'
Now two 21-year-old women who were in Dedmon’s truck and encouraged him to finish Anderson off are facing prison sentences after pleading guilty on Friday in connection with not just Anderson's death but a whole series of attacks on African-Americans in Mississippi.
Sarah Graves, left, and Shelbie Richards, right, are facing prison after pleading guilty in connection with a series of attacks including the 2011 death of James Anderson in Jackson, Mississippi
The death of James Anderson, pictured, sparked a broader investigation into reports that young white men and women were driving from mostly white Rankin County into majority-black Jackson to assault African-Americans
Shelbie Richards and Sarah Graves, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the federal hate crime law.
Anderson's death sparked a broader investigation into reports that young white men and women were driving from mostly white Rankin County into majority-black Jackson to assault African-Americans.
Richards and Graves admitted that on June 26, 2011, they encouraged their co-conspirators to leave Brandon with them to assault 'n******,' in Jackson.
Richards further admitted that she encouraged her co-conspirator Deryl Dedmon to hit Anderson with his truck.
In addition, Richards admitted that she falsely told law enforcement officers that she did not remember a fight between Dedmon and Anderson, and that she did not encourage Dedmon to strike Anderson with his truck.
The two women from Brandon face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for breaking the hate crime law, while Richards faces an additional three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for concealing information about Anderson's death from investigators.
Anderson, was run over by a Ford F250 truck outside a Jackson hotel in 2011. His assault was caught by a hotel surveillance camera
Richards further admitted that she encouraged her co-conspirator Deryl Dedmon, pictured, to hit Anderson with his truck
Dedmon was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Anderson in March 2012
'No person should have to fear that they will be attacked because of the color of their skin as they walk the streets of their own city,' said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division, reports The Clarion-Ledger.
Apart from Anderson's death, prosecutors say at least two other assaults occurred, in addition to an attempted assault. Other victims have not been publicly identified.
Prosecutors said the suspects usually sought out people who were homeless or drunk. Prosecutors said assailants used their fists, beer bottles, sling shots and vehicles in the attacks.
Six others - Dedmon, John Rice, Dylan Butler, William Montgomery, Jonathan Gaskamp, and Joseph Dominick - have also pleaded guilty. They have yet to be sentenced.
'This investigation started with the tragic death of James Anderson, ' said Special Agent in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Mississippi Division.
'Since then, the FBI has continued its efforts to identify and bring to justice all those individuals who conspired to deprive Mr. Anderson and other African-American citizens of their civil rights simply because of the color of their skin.'
Dedmon was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Anderson in March 2012.
He was part of a group of white youths from largely white Rankin County who decided to ‘go f*** with some n******,’ after a night of partying and drinking, law enforcement officials have said, quoting some of the suspects in the case.
According to investigators, they drove 16 miles in two vehicles from Rankin County to Jackson, where after exiting the highway, they found Anderson alone in a parking lot about 4 a.m. on June 26.
The white men allegedly beat Anderson repeatedly, yelling racial epithets including ‘white power’. After the beating, Dedmon drove his Ford F-250 truck over the man, leaving him to die.
Shortly afterward, Dedmon boasted and laughed about the killing, according to statements some of the teens made to detectives.
'I ran that n***** over,' he allegedly said in a phone conversation to the youths in the other car.
Six others including Deryl Dedmon, John Rice, Dylan Butler, William Montgomery, Jonathan Gaskamp, and Joseph Dominick have also pleaded guilty