BRIAN PERRY/Book about killing of racist
In April of 2010, self-proclaimed white nationalist leader Richard Barrett was killed in Rankin County by Vincent McGee who stabbed him 35 times and set fire to Barrett’s house. Various theories and motives circulated from a botched robbery, to a racial conflict (McGee is black) to defense from sexual assault to a gay arrangement gone wrong.
Australian documentary maker John Safran tackles the story in “God’ll Cut You Down: The Tangled Tale of a White Supremacist, a Black Hustler, a Murder, and How I Lost a Year in Mississippi.”
Safran’s true crime book isn’t a narrative of the events before and after the killing. It is more a record of his journey to write the book. And in a unique twist, it includes his own personal experiences and conversations with Barrett a year before his death.
Safran’s journey through Mississippi includes visits, meetings and conversations with Confederate flag toting Jim Giles (who suspected Barrett of being gay and an FBI informer), attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and Precious Martin, District Attorney Michael Guest, Representative John Moore, Vallena Greer (currently Vice Chairwoman of the Mississippi Democratic Party), acquaintances of Barrett, McGee and his family and a host of folks from the roads of Pearl to the streets of Jackson.
He shares FBI files and Sovereignty Commission reports. He makes his own discoveries.
Madison County Journal