Mississippi women face 5 years in jail for their roles in the hate crime death of black man
Screen capture (Young Turks)

Two Mississippi women pleaded guilty to hate crime charges for their roles in a criminal conspiracy that led to the death of a black man in 2011, The Clarion-Ledger reports.

Shelbie Brooke Richards and Sarah Adelia Graves pleaded guilty of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act for participating in a scheme that led to the death of James Craig Anderson, who was run over by another co-conspirator's Ford F250 truck.

According to the prosectuion, Richards and Graves met with their co-conspirators in Jackson, Mississippi in order to plan attacks on African-Americans -- in particular those they believed to be homeless or drunk, as they believed such individuals would be less inclined to report the attacks to police.

Their preferred methods of attack were beer bottles and sling shots, but on June 26, 2011, Richards encouraged Deryl Paul Dedmon to strike Anderson with his truck after he and Anderson were involved in an altercation. She then lied to police both about knowing about the earlier altercation, and about encouraging Dedmon to strike Anderson with his truck.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said that "the continuing investigation into the events surrounding the vicious murder of James Craig Anderson that resulted in today's guilty pleas demonstrates that the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue justice for every victim of racially-motivated violence."

"No person should have to fear that they will be attacked because of the color of their skin as they walk the streets of their own city," Gupta added. "We will continue to use the tools at our disposal to ensure that racial equality in America is a reality as well as an ideal."

Richards and Graves face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for their involvement in Anderson's death. Richards faces the possibility of an additional 3 years for concealing her knowledge about the circumstances that led to it.

Watch a The Young Turks report on Anderson's death via YouTube below.