Tags: otis byrd | mississippi | hanged | tree

Otis Byrd: Mississippi Man Found Hanged From Tree; FBI Investigating

By    |   Friday, 20 Mar 2015 01:53 PM

Otis Byrd was identified by the NAACP as the man found hanged from a tree in Mississippi this week, and the organization has now called on investigators to determine whether the death was the result of a hate crime.

"Mr. Byrd was found hung in a tree, and because of that we want to ensure it was not in fact a racial hate crime," said Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, Reuters reported. "It's too early in the process to speculate, but based on the history in Mississippi of racial hate crimes, we are always concerned when an African-American is found hung in a tree in this state."

The FBI has taken up the case, but has not yet determined whether Byrd's death was the result of suicide or murder. A civil rights investigation may be opened if lab results or other evidence suggests he was murdered.

"Investigators are currently processing the scene for evidence to determine the cause and manner of death," said Jackson-based FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Pack.

Bryd, 54, was found hanged by a bed sheet in a wooded area half a mile from his house in Claiborne County. An agent of the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said that the body had "obvious signs" of decomposition, suggesting it had been there more than a day.

He was last seen March 2, and his family reported him missing a few days later.

Byrd served jail time from 1980 to 2006 after being convicted of killing a woman, Lucille Trim, during a robbery.



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Otis Byrd was identified by the NAACP as the man found hanged from a tree in Mississippi this week, and the organization has now called on investigators to determine whether the death was the result of a hate crime.
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Friday, 20 Mar 2015 01:53 PM
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