White supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed Wednesday evening for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas.Here's why that name should be familiar to you (from Wikipedia):
Byrd, 49, was chained to the back of a pickup truck and pulled whip-like to his death along a bumpy asphalt road in one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history.
Brewer, 44, was asked if he had any final words, to which he replied: "No. I have no final statement."
A single tear hung on the edge of his right eye.
He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms, both covered with intricate black tattoos.
Appeals to the courts for Brewer were exhausted and no last-day attempts to save his life were filed.
Some advocacy groups, such as the NAACP National Voter Fund, made an issue of this case during George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2000. They accused Bush of implicit racism since, as governor of Texas, he opposed hate crime legislation. Also, citing a prior commitment, Bush could not appear at Byrd's funeral. Because two of the three murderers were sentenced to death and the third to life in prison (all charged with and convicted of capital murder, the highest felony level in Texas), Governor Bush maintained that "we don't need tougher laws". The 77th Texas Legislature passed the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act. With the signature of Governor Rick Perry, who had inherited the balance of Bush's unexpired term, the act became Texas state law in 2001.[The NAACP, which by the way is supposed to be a non-partisan organization, ran a shameful campaign against Bush on this issue. Fortunately, voters rejected the NAACP argument as they usually do.