A Mississippi teenager who intentionally ran over a black man in an apparent hate crime and bragged about the incident to a friend will be charged with capital murder, which can attract death sentence or life in prison.
Authorities on Friday upgraded the charge against him, noting that further evidence showed the murder was committed alongside felony robbery.
In Mississippi, capital murder is defined as a murder that takes place during the commission of another felony, the Associated Press has reported.
Jackson Police Detective Eric Smith did not reveal what was stolen from 49-year-old James Craig Anderson on the morning of June 26, when Deryl Dedmon ran him over with a Ford F-250 pickup truck.
A graphic video of the killing of the black man outside a hotel in Jackson had caused national outrage. The video, shot by a hotel security camera, showed the truck mowing down Anderson on the Ellis Avenue, AP report said. The truck backs up and then lunges forward. Anderson's shirt is illuminated in the headlights before he disappears under the vehicle next to the curb, the report says.
According to Smith, the new finding that robbery was involved in the crime did not change the hate crime theory. This does not change the theory of the case — that it's a racially-motivated killing, he said.
According to prosecutors, another teenager, John Aaron Rice, was involved in the assault on Anderson. He too will be charged with murder. Dedmon and Rice were with a group of teenagers that morning and went out looking for a random black person to assault, AP reported, citing the district attorney's office.