(Huntsville, TX-AP) — Texas is executing the man who committed one of the country’s most brutal hate crimes. John King was the second person put to death for the killing of James Byrd Jr. in 1998.
Prosecutors say King was the ringleader of a group that chained Byrd to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him for miles after Byrd reportedly asked for a ride home. The force ripped off Byrd’s arm and decapitated him.
Even more disturbing, reports say that James Byrd was alive for the majority of his torture prior to being dismembered.
The murder of the 49-year-old African American shocked the nation and sparked protests.
The Supreme Court denied a last-minute request for a stay of execution for the 44-year-old avowed racist. King was pronounced dead by lethal injection at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville shortly after 7 p.m.