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."