23 March, 2012

CNN Breaking News

Three white Mississippi men pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes in connection with the 2011 beating death of an African-American man in Jackson, the Justice Department announced.

Deryl Dedmon, John Aaron Rice and Dylan Butler each admitted to conspiracy and violating a federal hate-crimes law in last June's killing of James Craig Anderson. They face sentences of up to life in prison and $250,000 in fines, prosecutors said.

The 19-year-old Dedmon had already pleaded guilty to state murder and hate-crime charges Wednesday in a state court and was sentenced to life in prison.

The men are among the first defendants to be prosecuted under the federal hate-crime statute that President Barack Obama signed in 2009 and the first to be prosecuted in a fatal attack, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said.

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