Prosecutors in Jackson, Mississippii say that Deryl Dedmon, Jr. and John Aaron Rice were looking for a black person to hurt when they left a party on June 26.
"Let's go fuck with some niggers," Dedmon had reportedly said to friends.
Dedmon, Rice and several other teens drove from a white suburb to a prominently black part of town where they came across James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old black auto plant worker.
Witnesses claimed that after beating and kicking Anderson, the teens yelled "White Power!" and other racial epithets.
When the beating was over, security footage showed Dedmon's Ford 250 truck driving over Anderson, killing him instantly.
"I ran that nigger over," Dedmon allegedly told the other teens in a phone call.
"He was not remorseful," Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith told CNN's Drew Griffin. "He was laughing, laughing about the killing."
"This was a crime of hate. Dedmon murdered this man because he was black," Smith added.
Anderson family attorney Winston Thompson agreed, saying, "It appears there is no doubt that this was a racially motivated killing."
Dedmon has been charged with murder and faces a double life sentence. In July, Judge William Barnett reduced the murder charges against Rice to aggravated assault. He was released on $5,000 bond.
Other teens involved in the case have not been charged.
"Life sentences?" The Root's Nsenga Burton wondered. "Why not the death penalty? We're also wondering why Rice and Dedmon, Jr. are the only people being charged in this senseless murder? If multiple teens participated in the beatings and were in the car during the murder, shouldn't they also be charged?"