ADL Says "Swift and True Justice" Meted Out in Guilty Verdict in Texas Racial Murder Case
New York, NY, February 23, 1999
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed
the Jasper, Texas jurys verdict finding John William King guilty of capital murder
in the brutal racial slaying of James Byrd, Jr., saying it "gave meaning to swift and
true justice in the face of this horrific hate crime." ADL called on the Texas
Legislature to pass the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Act, which would strengthen existing
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, and Jonathan Bernstein, ADL Regional Director
Southwest Region, issued the following statement in reaction to the guilty verdict in the
trial of John William King for the murder of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas:
Todays conviction of John William King for Mr. Byrds brutal racial murder
in Jasper, Texas was a welcome affirmation of the American justice system. The jury gave
meaning to swift and true justice in the face of this horrific hate crime. If we as a
society can learn from this crime that racism, allowed to fester unchecked, carries within
it the seeds of violence, something positive may yet grow from this tragedy.
The Byrd murder was a wake-up call for Americans who believed that hate crimes were no
longer a problem in this country. It was also a reminder for those who ignore the threat
of extremist organizing and recruitment behind prison walls.
It is clear that the jury was as horrified by this vicious crime as were the people of
Jasper, who from the beginning made it clear that haters were not welcome in their
community. We salute them, and the example they have set for other communities confronting
hate violence. Our prayers are with the Byrd family who must endure two more trials of
those charged with the murder.
To underscore the importance of the message conveyed by todays verdict, ADL is
co-sponsoring a rally in support of stronger hate crimes legislation in Texas this
Thursday evening at the Houston Area Urban League at 7:00 p.m. Additional details are
available from the ADL Houston Regional Office, at (713) 627-3490.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.