On June 7, 1998, three white men beat 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. after offering him a ride. Byrd was then chained to the back of a truck where his body was dragged for almost three miles along a secluded road outside the Texas Jasper. Byrd was alive for at least two miles before he died. Prosecutors said he was targeted because he was black.
Jan. 25, 1999
Jury selection begins in the capital murder trial of John William King in the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
Feb. 10, 1999
Texas Governor George W. Bush provides a $100,000 grant to Jasper County to help prosecute suspects in the James Byrd Jr. dragging death case.
Feb. 23, 1999
Closing arguments begin in John William King's trial.
Feb. 24, 1999
John William King's father pleads for the jury to sentence him to life in prison rather than death by lethal injection.
March 11, 1999
The first public hearing takes place in the Texas Capitol to discuss the James Byrd Jr. Act.
May 7, 1999
Houston Mayor Lee Brown leads a delegation to push for swift passage of the James Byrd Jr. Act.
May 14, 1999
Texas Senators defeat the James Byrd Jr. Act.
June 7, 1999
An oak tree is planted in honor of James Byrd Jr. at the future site of James Byrd Jr. Memorial Park in Jasper, Texas.
Sept. 13, 1999
The capital murder trial begins for suspect Lawrence Russell Brewer in a Brazos County courtroom, marking the second trial overall related to the dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
Sept. 16, 1999
The prosecution rests in the capital murder trial of Lawrence Russell Brewer.
Sept. 24, 1999
A jury sentences 32-year-old Lawrence Russell Brewer to death by lethal injection following his conviction of capital murder in the June 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
Nov. 18, 1999
A jury sentences 24-year-old Shawn Allen Berry to life imprisonment in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
April 24, 2000
The dedication takes place for the James Byrd Jr. Memorial Park in Jasper, Texas.
June 7, 2007
The film "Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd Jr." premieres in Houston.
October 28, 2009
President Barack Obama signs into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate crimes protections to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability
Sept. 21, 2011
44-year-old Lawrence Russell Brewer is executed in Texas.
April 24, 2019
The execution by lethal injection of John William King is scheduled to take place in Texas.