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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 23, 1999


When James Byrd, Jr. was murdered, it was my hope that people would join together across racial lines to demonstrate that an act of evil like this is not what our country is all about. That hope was fulfilled over the past eight months, as citizens across the country expressed their outrage and grief over this tragedy, and their determination to ensure that justice be done.

I hope that the verdict rendered today by twelve citizens in Jasper, Texas will bring some sense of closure to the family and friends of Mr. Byrd. The First Lady and I offer our prayers for them, and our hope that their memories of Mr. Byrd's life will sustain them in the difficult time ahead. The jury has spoken. Our work for racial reconciliation and an end to all crimes of hatred in this country will go on.