|First federal hate crime indictment handed down based on sexual orientation|
|Written by Dyana Bagby|
|Thursday, 12 April 2012 16:09|
The U.S. Department of Justice announced today it has indicted two Harlan County, Ky., men for participating in the kidnapping and beating of a gay man.
This is the first indictment handed down under the federal Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act involving sexual orientation, according to a press release from the DOJ.
The federal grand jury indicted David Jason Jenkins, 37, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, "for kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington, and for conspiring with each other and other unnamed individuals to commit the kidnapping," according to the press release.
"The indictment alleges that on April 4, 2011, the two defendants kidnapped and assaulted Kevin Pennington because of Pennington’s sexual orientation. According to the indictment, the defendants enlisted two women to trick Pennington into getting into a truck with the defendants, so that the defendants could drive Pennington to a state park and assault him. According to the indictment, the defendants then drove Pennington a secluded area of the Kingdom Come State Park in Kentucky and assaulted him," states the DOJ release.
"The whole time I screamed and begged them to stop, I was screaming I'm sorry for whatever I had done to make them want to do this to me. I can remember seeing bright flashes of light every time one of them would stomp or punch me in the head with them telling me he was going to rape me asking me if I was going to suck his [edited] how they would hold me down if they had to and how he was going to [edited] me in the [edited] dry until I bled," Pennington said.
The two men face a life sentence if convicted.
President Barack Obama signed the federal hate crimes bill in October 2009.
In Atlanta, federal authorities are continuing to investigate the assualt on Brandon White, a gay man who was beaten by gang members who repeatedly called him "faggot" as a possible federal hate crime. White was attacked in southwest Atlanta and a video of the beating went viral after being uploaded to a hip hop website.
In 2010, a Savannah district attorney said a beating of a gay man by two Marines was eventually not considered a hate crime.
Georgia is one of five states in the country without a hate crimes law. State Rep. Rashad Taylor introduced a hate crimes law on March 29, the last day of this year's legislative session.
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