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Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Pat Lopez. James Bird [sic] Murder Trial, January 1999. Colored pencil on gray paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (064.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-51121 © Pat Lopez
Gift and purchase, Pat Lopez

Racist Tatoos Cover James Byrd, Jr.'s, Murderer

During the trial of John William King, tattoo artist Johnny Mosley testified about the racist imagery with which King had covered his body while in prison on burglary charges. King had also joined the Confederate Knights of America, a Klan-based group. Out of prison, he recruited Shawn Allen Berry and Lawrence Russell Brewer to what he hoped would be the Jasper, Texas, chapter of the group. The victim, James Byrd, Jr., had been hitchhiking home from a party on June 7, 1998, when Berry, Brewer, and King kidnapped him. After beating him, they chained him to the back of their truck and dragged him to his death. Selecting its only African American juror to serve as foreman, the jury returned a guilty verdict of capital murder.