Brandon man pleads guilty in attacks on blacks - News, Weather & Sports

Brandon man pleads guilty in attacks on blacks

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A sixth man has pleaded guilty in connection with racially motivated attacks by young whites against blacks in Jackson.

Joseph Paul Dominick, 21, of Brandon pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit a hate crime.

Prosecutors say that starting in April 2011, the group drove from mostly white Rankin County into Jackson. There, prosecutors say, they verbally harassed and physically assaulted blacks, later boasting about the attacks.

Prosecutors say Joseph Dominick threw bottles and used sling shots against blacks.

The death of James Craig Anderson in June 2011 outside a Jackson hotel sparked the investigation. 

Prosecutors say the group was at a bonfire birthday party in Puckett for Dominick on June 25, 2011, when he and others talked about going to Jackson to harass and assault African-Americans. Dominick didn't go to Jackson.

Early on June 26, 2011, Deryl Dedmon, 20, and others drove to Jackson where Dedmon ended up running over and killing Anderson.

Prosecutors say Dominick was not present during the Anderson incident, but he was part of other group attacks.

Dominick's mother spoke with WLBT outside the federal courthouse Thursday.

"I want to say a big apology to that family who lost their loved one on that night. When I read it the next day, I threw up because I knew those kids," Cindy Dominick said. "I was the one who called Joseph and told him about it. He had no idea. All he did was celebrate his birthday. He said no to those kids. He did not go."

Dedmon, John Aaron Rice, 19, Dylan Butler, 21, William Montgomery, 23, and Jonathan Gaskamp, 20, all of Brandon have pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the conspiracy.

Joseph Dominick, who is American Idol finalist Skylar Laine's former boyfriend, faces up to five years in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Skylar Laine's family released a statement Thursday saying:

"Skylar had no idea Joseph Dominick was involved with hate crimes at any time during their relationship. She has since moved on. Skylar has not been accused or implicated in any crime. Skylar and her family encourage anyone who may have been a victim of a hate crime to come forward and help investigators."

More hate crime convictions related to this case are expected.

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