Hate crime killer Lawrence Brewer has been executed in Texas for his role in the racially motivated killing of James Byrd Jr. in 1998.
The AP reports:
Brewer, 44, was asked if he had any final words, to which he replied: "No. I have no final statement."
A single tear hung on the edge of his right eye. He was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m., 10 minutes after the lethal drugs began flowing into his arms, both covered with intricate black tattoos.
On the same day that Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection, despite 11th-hour appeals for clemency, Texas prison authorities carried out their execution of Brewer at 6 p.m., Central time.
Brewer, 44, was the first of two men convicted in the brutal, racially motivated slaying of James Byrd Jr. to be put to death. John William King is sentenced to be executed, subject to appeal, and Shawn Allen Berry was sentenced to life in prison.
According to the Houston Chronicle:
The Byrd killing, occurring in Deep East Texas, the portion of the state most closely tied to the American South and its history of lynching, shocked and sickened the nation. Byrd, 49, was abducted as he walked along a Jasper road, beaten, urinated on and dragged about 2 miles behind a pickup by log chains attached to his ankles.
He was decapitated when his body struck a culvert.
The three killer were described as white supremacists. When KHOU-TV of Houston interviewed Brewer, according to NPR, "he displayed racist tattoos and explained how race fights he'd experienced during a prior prison term changed his 'mentality.'"
However, that simply meant that he was unrepentant:
“As far as any regrets, no, I have no regrets,” Brewer says. “No, I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”
Clara Taylor and Louvon Harris, the victim's sisters, reportedly attended the execution. Taylor, according to the Chronicle, said she had wanted to hear a final statement from Brewer, but was disappointed as Brewer opted to remain silent.
"My understanding is he had no remorse, he was unrepentant," she reportedly said. " … It could have gone in any direction."
Byrd's son Ross Byrd, meantime, told Reuters that he hoped the state showed clemency to the man that murdered his father.
"You can't fight murder with murder," Byrd, 32, told Reuters late Tuesday. "Life in prison would have been fine. I know he can't hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn't what we want."