The New York Daily News reports,
Deryl Dedmon, 19, was arrested on a charge of capital murder, which is punishable by death or life without parole. He has not been indicted and it will be up to a grand jury to decide on the formal charges. Capital murder in Mississippi is defined as a murder that happens during the commission of another felony. The underlying offense in this case is the alleged robbery of Anderson.However, the New York Daily News quotes the family as saying:
Police say that Dedmon and a group of teens had been partying late that night in suburban Rankin County when he asked a group of them to go out looking for a black man to "mess with." Seven people allegedly loaded up in two cars and headed to Jackson.
Those responsible for James' death not only ended the life of a talented and wonderful man. They also have caused our family unspeakable pain and grief. But our loss will not be lessened by the state taking the life of another.
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"We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites. Executing James' killers will not help balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment."