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Tennessee man guilty in civil rights death

March 21, 2011 at 9:59 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., March 21 (UPI) -- A Tennessee man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday in the racially motivated slaying of a black county government worker.

Dale Mardis, 57, admitted he shot and killed Shelby County code enforcement officer Mickey Wright April 17, 2001, the U.S. Justice Department said in a release.

Mardis faces a sentence of up to life in prison when he is sentenced June 20 for using a firearm to commit the civil rights murder.

"Crimes of hatred and prejudice are sadly not a thing of the past, and the FBI remains dedicated to working with our federal, state and local partners to prevent these crimes and to bring to justice those who commit them," Amy S. Hess, special agent in charge of the Memphis Division of the FBI, said. "I hope that the efforts of all involved will help the family find closure, and move the healing process forward."

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