The Jasper community rallied for a community prayer vigil, coinciding with the execution of John William King for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. The vigil was led by local religious leaders, including Father Ron Foshage, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Jasper and Pastor Gary Marshall, president of the local ministerial alliance.
Of the religious leaders present, Father Foshage, Dr. Kenneth Lyons and Brother John Hardin were present after the murder of Byrd. They prayed for the King and Byrd families, as well as for unity in the community.
Betty Boatner, sister of Byrd, also spoke at the vigil. She spoke on the strength of her mother when she forgave King for murdering her son, and of the greatness of God.
“When I talk about the Lord, I get excited because I know I serve a mighty God,” said Boatner. “He’ll turn your midnight into joy.”