The U.S. Department of Justice is holding an event to honor the 10th Anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Three men chained Byrd to the back of a pickup in 1999 and dragged him down Huff Creek Road in Jasper, Texas, until he was dead. They left his body in front of a church to be discovered.
Two of Byrd’s killers died by lethal injection. The third will spend the rest of his days locked up.
In 1998, two men beat Matthew Shepard and tied him to a fence near Casper, Wyoming. He died a few days after the attack, which started as a robbery and ended as murder.
Shepard’s attackers both pleaded guilty and received life sentences.
In 2009, President Obama signed into law the act named after Byrd and Matthew Shepard. It provides funding and technical assistance to local and state authorities to help them investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
Current U.S. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband will give today’s keynote remarks.