James Byrd Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was a black man 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.