U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate sentenced Sarah Adelia Graves and Shelbie Brooke Richards to five years and eight years respectively, for their role in the June 2011 killing of James Craig Anderson. Forty-nine year old Anderson was beaten and then run-over by a pick-up truck in Jackson. Prosecutors say Graves and Richards, were in the truck with the driver, Daryl Paul Dedmon, who asked them if he should hit the "N-word", referring to Anderson. They both said yes. The victim's sister, Barbara Anderson-Young wanted harsher sentences, but she's grateful.
"We are just so glad that it came to this day. Because so many people said that those young women would not be indicted. They wouldn't get this far. But we want to tell them today, we are here and still standing and everyone has been held accountable." said Young.
Dedmon, the driver is serving a 50 year sentence. Young told the women in court the family forgives them, but Anderson's blood will be on their hands for the rest of their lives. Graves pled guilty to one count of conspiracy. Richards pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of concealing a crime. Richards' Attorney, Merrida Coxwell, asked Judge Wingate to give his client the same five year Graves received because they both concealed the crime. The Judge stated prosecutors charged Graves with one count only. He said he gave them each the maximum sentences allowed. Attorney Coxwell.
"What his position was simply is that if he could have given Graves more time. He would have done it. I was disappointed with it. I thought Richards didn't deserve any more time." said Coxwell.
Both Graves and Richards tearfully apologized to Anderson's family for the death of their loved one. They said they were drunk and irresponsible, and wish it had never happened.