James Byrd's Killer Is Also Scheduled for Execution Tonight

In the wake of Troy Davis’ planned execution, Lawrence Russell Brewer is scheduled to be put to death tonight for the killing of James Byrd, but even those closest to the victim do not want him to die by lethal injection.

It’s a sad day when Wednesday night is a night of executions in the United States.


Troy Davis, 43, is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. EST, for the 1989 murder of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail, but many supporters are saying there is “too much doubt” for the inmate to be executed.


Davis isn’t the only one scheduled to be put to death, however. In Texas, Lawrence Russell Brewer is also scheduled to die for the 1998 murder of James Byrd, Jr., but even those close to Byrd don’t want Brewer to die by capital punishment.


"You can't fight murder with murder," Ross Byrd, 32, and James Byrd Jr.’s son, told Reuters late Tuesday, the night before Wednesday's scheduled execution. "Life in prison would have been fine. I know he can't hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn't what we want."


Brewer is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. in Huntsville, Texas, for what has been called one of the most notorious hate crimes in modern times.


Brewer, John King, another white supremacist currently on death row, and Shawn Berry, who is serving a life sentence and was previously acquainted with Byrd, were convicted of taking the life of Byrd, Jr. thirteen years ago. When Byrd was on his way home from a party, the three offered him a ride and then started attacking him on a country road near Jasper, Texas.


They beat him, chained his legs to the back of their pick-up and dragged him for several miles, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.  When they stopped, Byrd’s head and arm had been ripped off. They left his body on the country road.


After Bryd’s death, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which strengthened punishment for hate crimes. Through it all, however, Byrd’s son still does not wish death upon his father’s killer.


"Life goes on," said Byrd, who has a son of his own. "I've got responsibilities that I have every day. It's not on the front page of my mind. I'm looking for happy times."


Brewer would be the 11th man executed in Texas this year. If both executions go forward, Brewer and Davis will be the 34th and 35th executions in the United States in 2011.



To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.

(Photo: AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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