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  •   2nd Death Sentence Issued in Texas Slaying

    By Paul Duggan
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, September 24, 1999; Page A2

    A Texas jury yesterday imposed a death sentence on Lawrence Russell Brewer, the second self-proclaimed white supremacist to be convicted in the slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck last year in a racial attack that stunned the nation.

    Brewer, 32, found guilty of capital murder on Monday, showed no reaction as the jury in Bryan, Tex., issued its verdict in the trial's penalty phase shortly after noon CDT.

    "I don't like the death penalty," Jasper County District Attorney Guy James Gray said after the sentencing.

    "But if you don't give the death penalty to this man, he'll hurt again. It's not a pleasant thing to do, but it's the necessary thing to do."

    Brewer, who could have been sentenced to life in prison, will join the instigator of the slaying, John William King, 24, on death row.

    King was convicted in February and sentenced to lethal injection.

    The third defendant, Shawn Allen Berry, 24, is scheduled to go on trial next month; if he is convicted, prosecutors will again seek the death penalty.

    Byrd, 49, was walking home from a family gathering in Jasper, Tex., after midnight on June 7, 1998, when he was picked up and driven into woods near the city. After being chained at the ankles, he was dragged behind a pickup truck for about three miles, until he was decapitated by the jagged edge of a roadside culvert.

    © 1999 The Washington Post Company

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