While most murders are brutal, the wickedness of Byrd's murder shocked the world. NBA star Dennis Rodman announced Byrd's funeral. Filmmakers produced several documentary films. Artists like Geto Boys, Drive-By Truckers and Will Smith referred to the violent saga in their songs. Maryland Poet Laureate Lucille Clifton wrote an Ode to Byrd.
King maintained his innocence long after he sent a letter to the Dallas Morning News, which was later to be used against him. He said that the evidence presented in his case was cumbersome and that Berry was solely responsible for Byrd's death.
"I do not believe that justice was served," she told CNN. "Lawrence Brewer just had the opportunity to hog drugs and fall asleep, but my father was not given this option and was brutally tortured for 3 miles until he was dismembered."
A Modern Lynching
It's hard to describe what happened to Byrd as anything other than a modern lynching: King, Brewer, and Berry took Byrd and drove him to a secluded area, where they hit him and splashed him. He painted his face before he tied a log chain around his ankles and pulled him behind a pickup for nearly three miles.
Police found most of Byrd's body on June 7, 1998, a Sunday outside a church outside Jasper, Texas, about two hours' drive northeast of Houston, not far from the Louisiana border. There was a black cemetery in the church. The remnant of Byrd's body was found about a mile away, court records show.
"Byrd's death and dismemberment was caused, according to the pathologist, when he was hanged in the passageway by the roadside," according to the records.
A trail of blood led the investigators to a field that showed signs of a run. There, police picked up a lighter labeled "KKK" and "Possum," cigarette butts, a button from Byrd's shirt, Byrd's baseball cap, and a wrench labeled "Berry"
Byrd's acquaintances told the police they saw Byrd at a party on June 6, he left at about 2 am and was later seen riding in the cab of a pickup truck with three white men in the cabin.
After stopping Berry for traffic violations, on June 8, 1998, the police found a suitable tool set for the wrench, blood spatters under the truck, and a rust stain in the pattern of a chain. The blood suited Byrds and the tires of Berry's truck fit the scene.
The cigarette butts contained King's DNA, and the police learned that King's nickname was Possum. The investigators also found a 24-foot wooden chain in a hidden hole in the forest behind a house owned by a friend of King and Brewer.
Another damned piece of evidence was a wall doodle in Kings cell, in which he described Berry, who had been the police and police collaborator, as the "snitch traitor" Pride recalled
Motive was never described specifically, the breed was an issue in Kings process. The prosecution provided evidence that King had been a "sublime Cyclops" of America's white supranational Confederate Knights, regularly drawing lynch scenes.
His tattoos included a burning cross, the double lightning bolt of Adolf Hitler's paramilitary guard squad, a dressed Ku Klux Klansman, a swastika, the words "Aryan Pride" and a black man hanging from a tree.
Gang experts testified that King recruited others for his cause – a wholesale racial war – and that he left Byrd's body in front of the church instead of disguising it, "showed that the crime should spread terror."
The prosecutors presented Also, a note stating that King tried to smuggle Brewer in jail, according to court records.
"Seriously, Bro, regardless of the outcome of that, we have written history and are proudly remembered when necessary," King wrote, signing, "A lot of Aryan love … possum."
The black inmates, Nolan claimed, have repeatedly raped the king.
"That's what the White Power Gang wanted," he wrote. Filled with hatred, King was easily included in their group to protect themselves, and during the remainder of his sentence filled the king's head with hatred for blacks, and when John King was released, John King unleashed this pent-up hatred of James Byrd. "
Brewer, whom King had met in prison, also joined the Confederate Knights of America for protection, as court records show. Both men were released in mid-1997, months before the murder of Byrd.
King never confessed to killing
King never confessed his crimes, and he did not testify in his 1999 trial, though a letter he sent to the Dallas Morning News as Evidence has been submitted. In it he called Berry "a ridiculous, alcoholic and volatile person" and claimed that Berry Byrd after a night in which beer was drunk and the mailboxes were destroyed, Byrd called for a steroid deal.
Berry then brought King and Brewer home, where they gave him a cooler of beer and a bottle of bourbon, King claimed. Berry went away with Byrd, and King went to bed, he wrote.
"I can not rightly say what happened later," King wrote before referring to Berry as the possible killer. "Russell Brewer and I are stereotyped and persecuted for our divergent appearance, criminal history, and pride, which we openly express for our race."
At his trial, Brewer testified that he was only a spectator and the king and Berry had committed the murder.
"I did not mean to cause his death," Brewer said tearfully. "I did not intend to kill anyone."
Guy Jasper, Jasper County District Attorney, however, told the jury, "This is a situation in which if you do not give this man the death penalty, he will kill him again."
King is to be executed on Wednesday at 18.00 clock. (7 pm ET) at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville. He will be the third in Texas executed inmate after police officer Robert Mitchell Jennings and the three-time murderer Billie Wayne Coble were murdered.