Witnesses Say Beckwith Bragged of Killing Evers : Court: Suspect on trial for the third time in the 1963 slaying purportedly referred to the black civil rights leader as a ‘chicken-stealing dog.’

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Byron De La Beckwith bragged on two occasions that he had killed civil rights leader Medgar Evers, whom he called a “chicken-stealing dog,” witnesses at his murder trial testified Monday.

“It wasn’t a man he killed, it was a damn chicken-stealing dog, and you know what you have to do to a dog after he’s tasted blood,” Mary Ann Adams said Beckwith told her in 1966.

Daniel Prince, who rented an apartment from Beckwith in Tennessee in 1986 and 1987, said Beckwith used a racial slur when referring to Evers and the trials.


“He said, ‘I had a job to do and I did it, and I didn’t suffer any more than your wife if she was going to have a baby,’ ” Prince told the jury in Hinds County Circuit Court.

Beckwith was tried twice in 1964 for the murder of Evers, who headed the Mississippi NAACP from 1954 until his slaying on June 12, 1963. Both trials ended in hung juries.

New evidence enabled prosecutors to reopen the case.

Adams, a bookkeeper, said Beckwith was introduced to her as Evers’ killer when she and a co-worker ran into him at a restaurant in Greenwood in 1966.

“I was introduced to him as ‘Byron De La Beckwith, the man who killed Medgar Evers,’ ” she testified.

“I refused to shake his hand, said I wouldn’t shake the hand of a murderer. He got extremely agitated.”

That was when he made the remark about killing a dog, she said.

Adams admitted that she hadn’t told authorities about the remark for 14 years. She said she had assumed that Beckwith couldn’t be tried again.


Defense attorneys tried to undermine Prince’s testimony by revealing that he had been evicted from Beckwith’s rental apartment. The reason for the eviction wasn’t disclosed, however.