By The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss
JACKSON, Miss. —
There is no upside to what happened to James Craig Anderson, who was run over with a truck and killed for no other reason than he was black.
So far, five Rankin County young men have pleaded guilty to racially motivated attacks, and four of those young men admit their guilt in the case dealing with Anderson. While the wheels of justice are grinding along slowly in this case — Anderson was killed June 26, 2011 — they seem to be turning determinedly.
We know that at least seven people were together in the early morning hours of that fateful Sunday when the murder took place. Two of those are believed to be female.
Nonetheless, this is a long time for Anderson’s family and loved ones to wait for justice, especially when you consider that the first suspect, Deryl Dedmond, was arrested just hours after the incident occurred. A second suspect, John Rice, was arrested three days later. The FBI has said that law enforcement has conducted more than 200 interviews regarding this case. And four plea bargains regarding Anderson’s murder have been accepted.
After all of that, we can only hope that the identities of the other three suspects are known, and we can only wonder why they have not been charged.
If our hope of their identities being known is false, then we would severely question the agreement by the government to accept a plea bargain from a single one of the five men now in custody, despite doing so in exchange for guilty pleas.
But what is most confounding is the thick cloud of secrecy behind which this entire investigation and prosecution has taken place. Motions by the prosecution for extension on sentencing hearings have been sealed. The notice of a plea hearing recently did not specify the case or the kind of hearing, as is custom, but instead only read, “There will be a hearing in a significant case at 1:30 p.m. today in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in the United States Courthouse in Jackson.”
We understand the need for sensitive investigations to remain under wraps, but this is one of the oddest we have ever seen. ...
We wonder what it says about those who know the ones involved, the ones who have yet to be named, and the decision of these people who remain silent. It should make us all question what kind of culture has to exist among what surely is more than 10 teenagers for them to make repeated trips to Jackson, terrorizing black citizens and then return home to joke about it with friends. ...
Time may be on the side of the prosecution in this case, and we certainly hope it is, but we fear that time is not on the side of society. ...