As Texas prepares to execute Lawrence Brewer Wednesday evening, James Byrd, Jr.'s son hopes the state will show Brewer mercy, although the purported white supremacist murdered his father in what has been called the most notorious hate crime since the Civil Rights movement.
Brewer was convicted of capital murder in 1999 for his role in killing Byrd, Jr., a black man, in June 1998.
"You can't fight murder with murder. Life in prison would have been fine. I know he can't hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn't what we want," Ross Byrd told Reuters late Tuesday.
Brewer, with the help of two others, offered Byrd Jr. a ride on his way home from a party and then attacked him. Byrd was then chained by his legs to the back of their pickup truck and dragged for several miles until he died.
By the time the men stopped driving, Byrd Jr.'s head and arm had been ripped off. The three men dumped his body on a county road. Authorities found his dismembered and decapitated body the next day.
Byrd is not planning to attend the execution but will "be there in spirit," according to Reuters.
"Life goes on," Byrd told the news agency. "I've got responsibilities that I have every day. It's not on the front page of my mind. I'm looking for happy times."
Brewer is the first of two assailants sentenced to death for murdering Byrd, Jr.
John William King is on death row and has appeals pending, therefore no execution date has been set.
The third killer, Shawn Allen Berry, is serving a life sentence.
According to court records, Brewer and his co-defendants were members of the Confederate Knights of America.
Brewer is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CDT.