Joseph Dominick, 21, from Brandon, Miss., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., to one count of conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes in connection with his role in the assault of African-Americans in Jackson. Defendants Deryl Paul Dedmon, 20; John Aaron Rice, 19; Dylan Wade Butler, 21; William Kirk Montgomery, 23; and Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp, 20, all from Brandon have previously entered guilty pleas in connection with their roles in these offenses. The conspiracy culminated in the death of James Craig Anderson, who was assaulted and killed on June 26, 2011.
The investigation conducted by the FBI revealed that, beginning in the spring of 2011, Dominick and others conspired with one another to harass and assault African-Americans in and around Jackson. On numerous occasions, the co-conspirators used dangerous weapons, including beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles , to cause, and attempt to cause, bodily injury to African-Americans. They would specifically target African-Americans they believed to be homeless or under the influence of alcohol because they believed that such individuals would be less likely to report an assault. The co-conspirators would often boast about these racially motivated assaults.
On an occasion predating the death of Mr. Anderson, Dominick, Montgomery, Butler and others known to the government traveled to Jackson in Dominick’s truck for the purpose of finding and assaulting vulnerable African-Americans. The co-conspirators threw multiple glass beer bottles at African-American pedestrians. Dominick and his co-conspirators also purchased a sling shot and metal ball bearings to shoot at African-Americans, and then took turns shooting the sling shot at multiple African-Americans they encountered.
On June 25, 2011, Dominick and others attended a party/bonfire in Puckett, Miss., to celebrate Dominick’s birthday. During the party, Dominick and others, talked about going to Jackson to harass and assault African-Americans. By the early morning hours of June 26, 2011, Montgomery, Dedmon, Rice, Butler and three other co-conspirators known to the government agreed to carry out their plan to find, harass and assault African-Americans. Dominick did not go to Jackson on June 26, 2011. That evening culminated in Dedmon deliberately using his Ford F250 truck to run over Mr. Anderson, causing injuries which resulted in Mr. Anderson’s death.
“We hope that today’s guilty plea provides further assurance to the victim’s family and to the community that the Department of Justice will leave no stone unturned to find those responsible for these senseless racially motivated attacks,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to pursue those who participated in this violent conspiracy, which culminated in the tragic death of James Craig Anderson.”
“The acts carried out by Dominick and his co-conspirators against African-Americans are absolutely reprehensible. Bringing these individuals to justice is a top priority of this office and we will continue to assist the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in this investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis.
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Jackson Field Office, said, “The FBI continues to investigate the hate fueled assaults on African-Americans in and around Jackson, Mississippi, which include the attack on and resulting death of James Anderson on June 26, 2011. This behavior, which seeks to deprive others of their civil rights based on the color of their skin, cannot be tolerated.”
These guilty pleas were the result of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office. This case was investigated by the Jackson Division of the FBI and the Jackson Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sheldon L. Beer and Deputy Chief Paige M. Fitzgerald of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenda R. Haynes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.