2 more men plead guilty in hate crime case - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

2 more men plead guilty in hate crime case

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Jonathan Gaskamp (Source: arrest.org) Jonathan Gaskamp (Source: arrest.org)
James Craig Anderson (Source: Anderson family) James Craig Anderson (Source: Anderson family)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Two more white men related to the James Craig Anderson case pleaded guilty to hate crimes in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

Twenty-year-old Jonathan Gaskamp of Brandon -- a man not previously named in the Anderson case -- pleaded guilty to one count of violation of the Federal Hate Crime Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

William Montgomery, 23, of Puckett, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a hate crime and one count of violation of the Federal Hate Crime Act related to the death of James Craig Anderson.  Montgomery had previously been named in a civil suit by the family of Anderson.

"The overwhelming weight of evidence during the investigation led them to plead guilty," said Hinds County District Attorney, Robert Shuler Smith.

Anderson's family was present at the hearing. Anderson, a 47-year-old black man, was run over and killed on June 26, 2011 in Jackson.

The count of conspiracy to commit a hate crime for both men stems from the conspiracy that ultimately led to James Craig Anderson's death. Gaskamp did not go to Jackson that night but Montgomery was present.

"If they were not involved on June 26, 2011, with James Craig Anderson's murder, they have been involved in coming into Jackson, assaulting other African Americans," explained Winston Thompson, Anderson family attorney.

Three other white men -- Dylan Butler, Deryl Dedmon, and John Aaron Rice -- pleaded guilty in March to federal hate crime charges related to the case.

Even after nearly a year and a half, it's still tough for the Anderson family to hear the details recounted.

"It's very difficult to have to go through that. I wouldn't wish it on anyone but we have to go through these things to get where we need to be and we're still once again, seeking justice," said Anderson's sister, Barbara Anderson Young.

In court Tuesday, prosecutors claimed that Gaskamp was also involved in an unrelated hate crime between April 1 and June 26, 2011. It is said that Gaskamp came to Jackson with Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Butler, John Aaron Rice, also charged in Anderson's killing, and attacked a black male after spotting him on a golf course.

Officials state the group punched and kicked the victim. And Gaskamp kicked him in the face, head, and body. Gaskamp's boots were named as the weapon in the case. Gaskamp then went through the victim's pockets looking for money but found none. Court officials say Gaskamp then went back to the truck and got his handgun and said, "Let's shoot that [racial slur]," but didn't actually fire the weapon.

Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffey said Montgomery, who was there the night Anderson was killed, could spend the rest of his life in jail for violating the Matthew Sheppard James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Gaskamp, who was not in Jackson when Anderson was murdered, could spend up to a decade in prison for pleading guilty to a separate hate crime in Jackson.

"Mr. Gaskamp plead guilty to a federal hate crime that involved an injury and not a death so his maximum penalty is ten years for the violation of the hate crimes act and five years for the conspiracy," said Professor Steffey.

A violation of the federal hate crimes act generally warrants up to ten years in prison, but that sentence can be elevated when death, kidnapping or sexual assault result. Both Montgomery and Gaskamp could also face up to five years in jail for the conspiracy charges.

Both Gaskmap and Montgomery are awaiting federal sentencing.

Copyright 2012 Mississippi News Now. All rights reserved.

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