James Byrd Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was an African American who was murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John King dragged Byrd for three miles behind a pickup truck along an asphalt road. Byrd, who remained conscious throughout most of his ordeal, was killed about halfway through the dragging when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and head. The murderers drove on for another 1 1⁄2 miles (2. 4 km) before dumping his torso in front of a black cemetery in Jasper. Byrd's lynching-by-dragging gave impetus to passage of a Texas hate-crimes law. It later led to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, commonly known as the Matthew Shepard Act, which became federal law in 2009.