Hanged Black Man Last Seen Gambling (Case Update)

Mar 20, 2015 - 0 Comments

The FBI says a hanged black man in Claiborne County Mississippi was last seen alive in early March 2015 gambling at a state casino.  

Shortly thereafter Otis Byrd, 54, was reported missing by his family, and this week the mystery as to what caused his unexplained absence was finally solved: He was dead.

Which still leaves many outstanding questions about Byrd’s demise yet to be answered.

Heading up that important inquiry this week are several federal agencies, cheered on in their efforts by the NAACP, who wants to be absolutely certain Otis Byrd’s asphyxiation by hanging wasn’t an actual southern-styled lynching.

After all, it’s happened before, warns NAACP’s spokesmen -- an African American teen was just lynched in 2013, then his killing disguised and ruled as a suicide.

Seventeen-year-old Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing-set in North Carolina, and the circumstances of his troubling death were finally examined months later by the FBI who judged it to be suspicious.

Today, Lacy’s case is also under investigation.

Indiana hanging picnic

The case of Otis Byrd, who was hanged with a bed-sheet, has presented a few twists though, some which could ultimately obfuscate the matter.

For instance, Byrd had only recently been paroled from prison after serving a 25-year sentence for murder, and the county he lived in was not exactly hostile territory, the population there being almost exclusively black, according to the latest census.

In a state like Mississippi, however, with its well-documented history of racial hatred and deep Klan roots, it’s not hard to suspect wrongdoing whenever a hanged black man is discovered in any part of its backwoods.


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