James Byrd Jr. | Wikipedia
James Byrd Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was an African-American who was murdered by three men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King dragged Byrd for three miles behind a pick-up truck along an asphalt road. Byrd, who remained conscious throughout most of the ordeal, was killed when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and head. The murderers drove on for another mile before dumping his torso in front of an African-American cemetery in Jasper. Byrd's lynching-by-dragging gave impetus to passage of a Texas hate crimes law. It later led to the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, commonly known as the Matthew Shepard Act, which passed on October 22, 2009, and which President Barack Obama signed into law on October 28, 2009.

Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed by lethal injection for this crime by the state of Texas on September 21, 2011. King remains on Texas' death row while appeals are pending, while Berry was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Before his execution Brewer ordered a large meal that included two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, a large bowl of fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with lots of crushed peanuts.

Lawrence Russell Brewer | Photograph: Pat Sullivan/AP
However he did not eat any of it and the meal was discarded, prompting Texas prison officials to end the 87-year-old tradition of giving special last meals to condemned inmates

"It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege," Senator John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate criminal justice committee, wrote afterwards to Brad Livingston, the executive director of the Texas criminal justice department.

Livingston agreed and said: "Effective immediately, no such accommodations will be made. They will receive the same meal served to other offenders on the unit." That had been Whitmire's suggestion.

"It's long overdue," said Whitmire, a Houston Democrat said. "This old boy last night, enough is enough. We're fixing to execute the guy and maybe it makes the system feel good about what they're fixing to do. Kind of hypocritical, you reckon?

"Mr Byrd didn't get to choose his last meal. The whole deal is so illogical."

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