On Thursday, the NAACP reported that the body of a missing African American man in Claiborne County, Mississippi was founding hanging from a tree. The 54-year-old man, Otis James Byrd, was last seen on March 2, when a friend dropped him off at the Vicksburg Riverwalk Casino. He was allegedly discovered a half-mile from his last known residence. Both the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the death, and the NAACP has called upon the Department of Justice to join the inquiry. Law enforcement appears to be approaching the death as a possible lynching, though no other details have been confirmed.
While few details about Byrd have yet emerged, the Clarion-Ledger has the results of a public records request:
According to the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Byrd spent a little over 25 years in prison for the murder of Lucille Trimm in Claiborne County. Records show he robbed her of $101. He was convicted of capital murder on Feb. 8, 1980, and was paroled Nov. 2, 2006.
There is, however, absolutely no indication that Byrd’s past offense is in any way connected to his death.