Mississippi gang member who hunted blacks receives sentence
Joseph Paul Dominick faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes
BY BILL MORLIN, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER
A sixth man has pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges related to the June 2011 racially motivated killing in Jackson, Miss., of a black man assaulted and run over with a pickup truck by a gang of white youths. That brutal murder was captured on surveillance video and broadcast nationally.
Joseph Paul Dominick, 21, of Brandon, Miss., faces a maximum of five years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit federal hate crimes. He pleaded guilty to a criminal information, waiving grand jury indictment and striking a plea deal with federal prosecutors, just a month after The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson published an editorial blasting the Justice Department for a “thick cloud of secrecy” surrounding the protracted investigation.
Dominick was part of a gang of white youths, federal authorities now say, who armed themselves with assorted dangerous weapons — beer bottles, slingshots and handguns — and, essentially, made a sport of looking for disabled, homeless or intoxicated African Americans to verbally harass and physically assault. This week’s plea was related to Dominick’s participation in a variety of assaults; he was not involved in the murder that brought the gang national attention.
The case is highly reminiscent of the racially charged 2008 killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant slain by a gang of seven Long Island teenagers, most of them white, in Patchogue, N.Y. The youths, who were eventually sentenced to terms of five to 25 years in prison, had been regularly beating Latino immigrants as part of a blood sport they dubbed “beaner-hopping.”