The third man to stand trial in the dragging death of a black man testified today that he tried to stop the attack but that one of his buddies threatened him, leaving him too paralyzed with fear to do anything.
"I couldn't move," said 24-year-old Shawn Allen Berry, who, like his two friends, could get the death penalty for the slaying last year of James Byrd Jr. "I've never been in a position where I couldn't move before."
Berry said he was so scared he wet his pants beside the road.
Byrd, 49, was chained by his ankles to a pickup truck and dragged to pieces near Jasper in one of the nation's grisliest racial crimes since the civil rights era.
Two racist friends of Berry's, John William King, 25, and Lawrence Russell Brewer, 32, were separately convicted and sentenced to die.
Berry said he and the other men gave a lift to Byrd and that, after awhile, King and Brewer tried to pull Byrd out of the pickup truck.
In his 4 1/2 hours of testimony, Berry said he tried to break up the scuffle but was told by King that a "nigger lover" could meet the same fate that awaited Byrd.
"I couldn't do anything more to stop it," Berry testified.