Byrd tombstone vandalism investigated

JASPER, Texas, May 7 (UPI) -- Police in Jasper, Texas, are investigating vandalism found at the tombstone of James Byrd Jr., the black man who was dragged to death by three white men.

Racial slurs were scratched on a stainless steel plate that carries Byrd's name, birthdate, and date of death, the Beaumont Enterprise reported. A small footstone was also knocked over at the gravesite.


Police Chief Stanley Christopher said they have no solid leads in their investigation. He said the vandalism would be investigated as criminal mischief, which could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a state felony.

"It's a shame," Christopher told the newspaper. "His (Byrd's) parents are good people and this opens the wound up all over again."

The vandalism was discovered Thursday by someone tending a nearby grave but it wasn't the first time. Shortly after the burial, a small nameplate was removed from the grave site.

Byrd was chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to his death in 1998 at Jasper. Three white men were tried in the town and convicted in the hate crime. Two were sentenced to death and one received a life prison sentence.


Latest Headlines