It was a hot Sunday morning last July when, right on schedule at 6:30 a.m., 61-year-old Johnny Lee Butts left his rural Mississippi home on his morning ritual, a 4-mile walk.
His neighbor, Otis Brooks, says Butts, a Sunday school teacher, waved as he passed his front door wearing a blue T-shirt.
Brooks remembers that his neighbor's skin tone was easily visible that morning. "You could tell he was black; you could see his arms." The point would become important later.
At nearly 7 a.m., about an hour after sunrise, three white teenagers were barreling down Panola County Mississippi Highway 310 in a white Monte Carlo. Two of the three teens later admitted they had been heavily drinking vodka and smoking marijuana all night. They were headed right toward Butts.
The two teen passengers said they and the driver, 18-year-old Matthew Whitten "Whit" Darby, spotted a man walking on the shoulder on the opposite side of the road.
In statements to police and also in statements given to a grand jury, all obtained exclusively by CNN, the two teenagers, a then-15-year-old and 18-year-old Tony Hopper Jr., described what happened next.
"We see a walker on the side of the road. The complete left side of the road while we are on the complete right side of the road," the unidentified teen told a police lieutenant. "And I pointed out to say, 'watch out there is a walker there...'"
The unnamed teen continued his story: "Whit slightly turns the steering wheel and I saw him. 'Watch out, don't do nothing stupid' and then he just keep turning the steering wheel and eventually before we knew it he ran him straight over."
"He didn't slow down," Hopper said in a statement to a deputy sheriff.
The deputy asked: "He never hit his brakes?" Hopper replied: "No sir."
"Do you think he hit him on purpose?" asked the deputy.
"Yes, sir, I do," said Hopper.
Butts was hit from behind by the Monte Carlo, which was traveling somewhere between 55 and 70 mph, according to the documents. The car violently tossed him into the air, slamming him into the windshield, and his head struck the rear windshield. Butts' body hit the car with such force that the windshield collapsed into the car, bending the steering wheel back sharply. His leg was nearly severed.
Butts' body was found lying in the road, 172 feet from where the car hit him, the documents show.
Darby stopped his badly damaged car. His two passengers told police they got out and looked at Butts' pummeled body. Then they got back in the car and Darby sped away. Darby drove them to a house where they'd been partying, according to the documents, and the two teen passengers tried to sleep. Darby left the house alone and drove on to his grandmother's home.
Much later that day, the two teen passengers turned themselves in to police. Darby was arrested, telling police exactly what the two other teens said he would say, that he hit a deer. Darby denied he was drinking or smoking marijuana.
Darby and his lawyer, along with Hopper and the unnamed teen, are not talking to CNN. Darby hasn't entered a plea.
Seven months after his father's death, Donny Butts, Johnny's only child, retraced the route where his dad walked every morning. He visited the cross he'd previously laid at the spot where his father died.
Darby is in jail, charged with murder, but he is not charged with the added crime of "hate."
In this racially charged area of rural Mississippi, Confederate flags fly in front of homes just down the road from where Johnny Butts was killed. The Butts family and many other African-Americans in this community say the police, the district attorney and white law enforcement of Panola County aren't investigating why Johnny Lee Butts was killed. They say the motive was hate.
"They knew he was black," said Donny Butts. "And that's the only reason they ran him over because he was black. Point blank."
Donny Butts says he was told that the district attorney had said flat out that this was not a crime of race. "Well what was it? I want to know what was it, if it wasn't racist. It was just hate? I don't understand."
If the killing of Johnny Butts sounds hauntingly familiar, it's because it is, to a degree.
Just a year before Johnny Butts was killed in north Mississippi, another African-American man was killed by a group of white teens about 160 miles south in Jackson, Mississippi. James Craig Anderson, 47, died after he was beaten and run over by a truck driven by Deryl Dedmon, who was part of a group of seven whites, mostly teenagers, from largely white Rankin County who decided to "go f**k with some n*****s" after a night of partying and drinking, law enforcement officials have said, quoting some of the suspects in the case.
Anderson's death became national news after CNN obtained and released video that showed the gruesome murder as it happened.