10.09.2008

Jasper-Style Lynching? Reporting on the Grounds in Paris, Texas


Written by Jesse Muhammad

On Saturday, October 4, I received a serious phone call from Krystal Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) in regards to a possible dragging death in Paris, Texas which is located about five hours north of Houston. The first thing that immediately came to my mind was that 2008 is the tenth anniversary of the lynching of James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas. Liken unto that case, the victim in Paris was said to be a 24-year-old Black man and his killers were two White men.

I immediately Googled the town and saw that there were only a handful of media outlets that had covered the story which involved Brandon McClelland and these two White males. One reason possibly that there was hardly any coverage was that this killing took place on September 16, which was the tail end of Hurricane Ike hitting landfall so I am sure the town officials were hoping this would be swept under the rug. Too bad, because the Final Call is on top of it!

Sister Kyrtle told me that members of the NBPP Dallas Chapter were on the grounds already to meet with the family. So myself, Sis Krystle and my older brother Deric Muhammad hit the road on Sunday, October 5 to do some on the grounds work to see what really happened.

After a five hour drive, we arrived in the 'hood of Paris. We then caravaned over to the home of the McClelland family where Brandon's mother sat on the porch with tears in her eyes. Ms. Jacqueline McClelland and her family gave recorded statements to me for my Final Call story as well as the NBPP for an independent investigation. We were also joined by local activists, a head of the State NAACP chapter and other friends of the family.



After hearing their accounts, it was verified that her son was dragged on the back of a pickup truck by these two White males and his body was dismembered. Jasper all over again. Afterwards we drove over to the grave site.



We then went to the scene of the crime in Lamar County. You would not believe that parts of that Brandon McClelland's skull was still out there on the ground! Shows how much the police cared. It was like an episode of CSI:NY with blood tracks up and down the road and tire marks chased by the blood trails. This was one of the most painful stories I have had to cover in person.

“They tied my son to that truck and drugged him until his body parts were detached”, said his mother Jacqueline McClelland to the Final Call. “His body was so destroyed that it could not even be embalmed by the funeral home. This is a hate crime. I don’t want the death penalty for these killers because that would be too quick. I want them to suffer for life in jail without parole since I will never have my son back.”

Read my entire story in next week's edition of the Final Call Newspaper. Here are some more exclusive photos.