A sixth man has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges related to the June 2011 racially motivated killing in Jackson, Miss., of a black man assaulted and run over with a pickup truck by a gang of white youths. That brutal murder was captured on surveillance video and broadcast nationally.
Joseph Paul Dominick, 21, of Brandon, Miss., faces a maximum of five years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes. He pleaded guilty to a criminal information, waiving grand jury indictment and striking a plea deal with federal prosecutors, just a month after The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson published an editorial blasting the Justice Department for a “thick cloud of secrecy” surrounding the protracted investigation.
Dominick was part of a gang of white youths, federal authorities now say, who armed themselves with assorted dangerous weapons — beer bottles, slingshots and handguns — and, essentially, made a sport of looking for disabled, homeless or intoxicated African Americans to verbally harass and physically assault. This week’s plea was related to Dominick’s participation in a variety of assaults; he was not involved in the murder that brought the gang national attention.