The man who committed one of Texas’ most heinous hate crimes is dead.
Murderer John William King, convicted in the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr., was put to death Wednesday by lethal injection, reported The Associated Press.
King, 44, was executed at the state penitentiary in Huntsville.
Prosecutors claim Byrd of East Texas was targeted because he was black.
The 49-year-old victim was chained to the back of a pickup truck and mercilessly dragged along an asphalt road outside Jasper, Tex., on June 7, 1998. He was reportedly conscious during most of the grisly nightmare but died when his his head and right arm were decapitated by a culvert during the drive.
King and his conspirators, Shawn Berry and Lawrence Brewer, then dumped Byrd’s corpse in front of a black graveyard. The culprits were traced back to a Ku Klux Klan lighter founded at the crime scene.
Brewer was sentenced to death and died by lethal injection in 2011, while Berry was sentenced to life behind bars.
The hate crime put a national spotlight on Jasper, located near the Texas-Louisiana border. Since the killing, the town has been unable to shake its racist stigma.
The Supreme Court refused a final appeal from King just hours before his death, clearing the way for his execution, reported The Associated Press.
Corrections officials claimed King was stoic hours before his execution and prison agency spokesman Jeremy Desel said the condemned man had little to say following his transfer to Huntsville.
Betty Boatner, a sister of Byrd, organized a remembrance for her brother on Wednesday, according to Click2Houston.