John William King, 44, a white supremacist, who was sentenced to death in 1999 for the modern-day lynching of an African-American man, James Byrd Jr., in Texas, is set to be executed Wednesday.

On June 7, 1998, Byrd Jr. was offered a ride home by King, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and Shawn Allen Berry. Instead of taking the victim home, the trio drove east out of Jasper and stopped at a small clearing in the woods. A struggle ensued in which the three men ganged up on Byrd Jr., beating him and spraying him with black paint. After that, he was chained by the ankles to the back of Berry’s pickup truck and dragged for roughly three miles, according to Britannica.

At one point, the victim’s body hit a ragged edge of a concrete roadside drainage ditch, which severed his limbs and head from his torso. King, Berry, and Brewer then dumped the victim’s mutilated remains in the town’s segregated African-American cemetery, before heading to a barbecue. Since evidence collected from King's and Brewer's belongings proved they were white supremacists, the murder was classified as a hate crime.

All three were found guilty of capital (first-degree) murder of Byrd Jr. While Brewer and King were sentenced to death, and Berry received life in prison. Brewer died by lethal injection in 2011.

Here are a few facts about King:

1. King dropped out of high school in 1992 and was arrested twice for burglary. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in July 1995 after he was caught stealing beer and pool cues from a local vending machine company with Berry as his accomplice. At the time, King shared a cell with Brewer, who was jailed for burglary, cocaine possession and parole violations, according to Murderpedia.

2. During his time in the prison, King made friends with inmates involved in the "Confederate Knights,” an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan. He also acquired a number of tattoos during this time, which reportedly included Nazi symbols and a picture of a black man hanging to death. A fellow inmate who testified during his trial said King had vowed to kidnap and kill a black man after he got out of jail, as part of a gang initiation ritual, known in prison as "blood tie."

3. In spring 1998, a few months after King and Brewer got paroled, Berry moved in with them.

4. During his trial, King’s father apologized to the victim’s family, telling them he did not raise his son to be a racist. "The way he was raised, I don't see how he could have that kind of hate in him. That ain't the boy I knew,” he said, adding that King had a number of African-American friends when he was growing up.

5. King claimed ineffective assistance from his counsel and repeatedly appealed his guilty verdict. In 2018, his conviction was upheld in a federal appeals court. In October, the Supreme Court declined to hear his case.

Many of the victim’s family members have opposed the death sentences for Byrd Jr.’s killers. In 2011, Byrd's sister, Betty Boatner, told CNN that she "forgave him [Brewer] 13 years ago." His daughter, Renee Mullins, said she preferred the murderers to spend life in prison. “I don't feel justice was served," she said. "Lawrence Brewer was just given an option to take some drugs in his arm and go to sleep. My father wasn't given that option. He was brutally tortured for three miles, until he was dismembered."

Execution Chamber
The death chamber in Huntsville, Texas, June 23, 2000. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers