A white supremacist who was sentenced to death for the murder of a black man in an horrific killing that echoed the lynching era was executed today. Hit the jump to read the rest of the story.

Lawrence Russell Brewer, 44, was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 6pm CST for his part in the 1998 killing of James Byrd, Jr in East Texas.
Brewer was one of three men convicted of killing Byrd after they offered him a lift along a remote country road.

Byrd, 49, was beaten unconscious and urinated upon before being bound to the vehicle by his ankles with a heavy logging chain and driven for three miles.
Forensic evidence showed that he was alive for much of the ordeal but was killed when the vehicle hit a concrete drainage channel causing his head and arm to be ripped from his body.

John William King, 36, was also convicted of capital murder and sent to death row. His case remains under appeal.

After dumping his remains in an African American cemetery his killers drove off to a barbeque.
In an interview from death row, Brewer told Beaumont television station KFDM that he participated in the assault on Byrd but had ‘nothing to do with the killing as far as dragging him or driving the truck or anything.’
He told the station his execution would be a ‘good out’ and he’s ‘glad it’s about to come to an end.’
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Brewer’s family was allowed to see him one last time this morning.
He was then be taken from the Polunsky Unit in Livingston to an isolation cell in Huntsville where the sentence will be carried out.
Byrd’s death led to the Federal October 22, 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, commonly known as the ‘Matthew Shepard Act’.
President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on October 28, 2009.
The brutal death put Jasper, a typical East Texas town with the obligatory Dairy Queen and Walmart and a handful of fast-food places some 60 miles from the nearest interstate highway, under a national spotlight.
‘Everywhere you went, anywhere in the country, once people found out you were from Jasper, Texas, they wanted to ask you about it,’ says Mike Lout, the mayor and owner of the town radio station.
‘Everybody first was shocked and appalled and not proud of it. They talked about it so much in the days past it, I think most people wanted to put it out of their minds.’
‘It’s heartbreaking,’ said Billy Rowles, who was sheriff at the time of Byrd’s murder.
‘A lot of effort and hard work and soul-searching went into trying to live down the stereotype. It’s so easy to get back into that mode.’