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Historic Indictment For Anti-Gay Hate Crimes

Historic Indictment For Anti-Gay Hate Crimes

Two Kentucky men have become the first to be charged under the Matthew Shepard-James C. Byrd hate crimes law for crimes aggravated by hatred based on sexual orientation.

Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, and his cousin, David Jason Jenkins, 37, were charged with conspiracy, kidnapping and committing an act of violence based on the victim’s sexual orientation.

According to the indictment documents, the incident in April last year began when the two men, accompanied by Anthony Jenkins’ 19-year-old wife and his sister, Mable Ashley Jenkins, 19, picked up the victim, Kevin Pennington, in their truck. They then took him against his will into woods near Cumberland where they severely beat him while yelling slurs about his sexual orientation.

FBI Special Agent Anthony M. Sankey says in the documents that the women allegedly cheered on the attack, yelling “kill that faggot.”

Pennington escaped during a lull in the attack, and hid in the woods until the four stopped looking for him. He suffered numerous injuries, including bruises over much of his body, a torn ligament in his shoulder, a closed-head injury and a torn ear.

According to the documents, David Jenkins asked and then demanded oral sex from Pennington, which was refused, after which David Jenkins threatened to violently rape him.

Sankey writes that the truck stopped in the park because a tree had fallen across the road and Anthony and David Jenkins pulled Pennington out of the truck, then hit and kicked him while “making anti-homosexual statements.”

“During the attack [the victim] was covering his face and they were all screaming ‘how do you like this faggot?’” Sankey writes. “Ashley yelled `yeah that what you like queer were gonna kill your … now.’”

Each of the four attackers have acknowledged having Pennington in the truck that night, and three of the four implicated David Jenkins as the instigator of the attack.

David Jenkins has pointed to his cousin as the one who began the attack, saying he only joined in after it had started.

Kerry Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, told Kentucky Public Radio:

“The penalty potentially is any term of years up to life in prison. So these are very serious charges that carry very serious penalties.”

The Matthew Shepard-James C. Byrd hate crimes law was signed by President Obama in October 2009. It expands the 1969 federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The Act is named after Matthew Shepard, a student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 near Laramie, Wyoming because he was perceived to be homosexual, and James Byrd, Jr., an African-American man who was tied to a truck by two known white supremacists, dragged from it, and decapitated in Jasper, Texas in 1998.

Last month, the first convictions under the 2009 law came down over the racist killing by three white men in Mississippi of James Craig Anderson.

Related stories:

DOJ Gets Hate Crime Plea In Anderson. Could Zimmerman Be Next?

Minneapolis Trans Woman On Trial For Self-Defense From Hate Crime

Matthew Shepard’s Father Takes On Don’t Say Gay Bill

Read more: , , , , ,

Photo credit: Anthony Jenkins (left) and David Jenkins booking photos, courtesy Laurel County, Ky. Sheriff’s Department

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97 comments

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1:02PM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

:( some people are so ignorant and heartless

4:33AM PDT on May 6, 2012

Hope these people are locked up permanently, and I really hope the young couple never gets to reproduce.

1:46PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

There is a GOOD REASON for Hate Crime Laws, such as the Mathew Shepard-James C. Byrd Law.
It is to stop that particular form of violence which is unfortunately all-too-common; by INCREASING penalties over those for simple assault, destruction-of-property, etc.
It is NOT a matter of "thought crimes" or trying to unearth the hidden "motive" for a crime.
USUALLY, a Hate Crime is made EVIDENT -- because the perpetrator{s} WANT it to be OBVIOUS -- they WANT to send an unmistakable message to the targeted group or community!
There will be hate-words {that are commonly recognized as such}, graffiti, etc. As I said, the perpetrators WANT to make their message clear! They think they are doing RIGHT by their acts! {And even without the words, if some groups are consistently singled out for attack, for example because of the way they dress, etc., or the color of their skin or their ethnicity or the way they walk or talk, that too can be an obvious "Hate Crime" -- especially if there is "no previous relationship" with the perpetrators, that would make them "enemies" or dislike each other.}

1:31PM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

Tavis: A "Hate Crime" is a Hate Crime, NOT because it is committed against an individual who happens to be a member of a particular community; but it is a Hate Crime WHEN IT IS DIRECTED AGAINST AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY; the individual just happening to be an "unlucky" member of that community "in the wrong place at the wrong time".
The Hate Crime is INTENDED TO TERRORIZE THE COMMUNITY.

For example, if I have a grudge against someone who is Irish, and beat him up; or if I just happen to feel like beating someone up, and a person who happens to be Irish gets in my way, that is assault&battery, and certainly hateful, but NOT a "Hate Crime".
On the other hand, if I HATE ALL THE IRISH, for BEING Irish, {or whatever I think their "Irish" characteristics are},
and if I beat up an Irish person, whom I have sought out BECAUSE he is Irish, meantime yelling "Kill the Irish" or some such,
that is meant to send a MESSAGE OF FEAR to the ENTIRE IRISH COMMUNITY; to ALL the Irish; ANY of them, could be the NEXT target of us Irish-haters' violence, is the message.
So, the KKK burning crosses in front of the homes of Black people - and Jews, too - was meant to send a MESSAGE to ALL members of those groups. "Nothing personal", as they say!

11:37AM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

These men are monsters. I hope they get the most time that they can possibly get, if/when they get convicted.

11:34AM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

HOW IGNORANT. I sure hope they are NEVER allowed to reproduce, we do not need any other evil people like these 2 monsters in society.

2:26PM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Such unAmerican behavior...yet such people often try to claim they are somehow superpatriots...GOP primary rhetoric unfortunately inflames such misperceptions...

10:21AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

So you need to charge them with aggravated battery and assault. The reason is irrelevant. If some Asian guy kills an Irish guy, is the Irish guy somehow more dead if he was killed because he was Irish? No, this "hate-crime" crap is just as divisive as the "hate" that it supposedly is trying to fight. If someone commits a crime, you punish them to the extent of the crime. The logical or illogical rationality of why the crime was committed is of no importance. The only exception to this would be if someone breaks the law to help someone else. Like if someone stole a car to get their dying relative to a hospital and then later returned the car. Hate crime laws are a "solution" looking for a problem. Why person X committed crime Y on person Z is of anyone's concern. All that matters is that that person be charged for the crime they committed.

7:07AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

Truly disgraceful! This is 2012, people. Time for us, as a species, to grow up already! So sick of reading about insecure, immature, idiot "people" harassing or otherwise hurting people over inane crap.
For shame, people, for shame.

7:08PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

As a Kentucky/Tennessean, not all of us think this way. As a Christian I am highly offended. Many times Christians say repent but yet they won't make it safe for these young people. LET THE BULLING STOP! Lets open our hearts and send out a message for love and protection.

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