IT WAS a crime that proved this nation and its people are still capable of being shocked. The racially motivated murder of James Byrd was a crime of unimaginable brutality. Jasper is a place where Byrd, 49, could be dragged to his death on a 24-ft chain by white supremacist King. But Jasper is also a place where a nearly all-white jury can render a verdict and a statement concerning how we should treat one another. If it can happen in Jasper, then why not everywhere?
Beacon Journal, Ohio
THERE COULD be no more appropriate punishment for someone who deliberately inflicted so much pain on an innocent victim and so much lingering damage on the family left behind. Mr Byrd's relatives and the entire Jasper community will have to live with memories of that unspeakable day. There also are lessons from Jasper's ability to pull together following a tragedy of this magnitude. The community has become closer as a result of Mr Byrd's death. The road back from this horrible crime will be long. But Tuesday's conviction provided an important first step.
Dallas Morning News
IT WAS not enough for John William King to display his hatred of blacks by adorning his body with racist tattoos or through his membership in the Confederate Knights of America, a racist group he joined while in jail. Both of those actions were within his rights. John William King had no right, however, to kidnap, maim and murder an innocent man. After the jury's swift judgment he must pay dearly. The Washington PostReuse content