26 April 2019 :
John William King, 44, White, was executed with a lethal dose of pentobarbital at 6:56 p.m.. King was pronounced dead shortly after 7 p.m. local time in a Hunstville prison. He had been sentenced to death in February 1999 for his role in the murder of James Byrd in the early morning hours of June 7, 1998. King and co-defendants Lawrence Russell Brewer and Shawn Allen Berry beated Byrd, 49, chained him to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him for 3 miles down a logging road in Japser County, tearing his body apart. Prosecutors said Byrd was targeted because he was black. King, a white supremacist, prior to the murder had recently been released from a Texas prison. He said that he had been repeatedly gang raped in prison by black inmates. Following his arrest, King never gave the police a formal statement and did not testify, but he sent letters to the Dallas Morning News proclaiming his innocence. King is the second man to be executed in the case. Brewer was executed in 2011 (see 21/09/2011) while Berry was sentenced to life in prison. The murder drew international and national attention. Texas and federal hate crime legislation are named in memory of Byrd. King becomes the third person executed in Texas this year, the 561st since Texas resumed executions in 1982, the 4th execution in the U.S. in 2019 and the 1,494th person executed in the United States since 1977.