Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Two Kentucky Men Charged By Feds With Anti-Gay Hate Crime: First Use of U.S. Hate Crimes Law

Cousins Anthony Ray Jenkins (l) and David Jason Jenkins (r), indicted under the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Act for anti-gay attack.

Lexington, Kentucky – Two cousins face the first charges filed by the Federal Government under the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act for attacking a gay man, as announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington.  According to the Associated Press, David Jason Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland, Kentucky, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, of Partridge, Kentucky were indicted early this week by a federal grand jury for a savage April 2011 attack upon Kevin Pennington, a gay man who refused to perform sexual acts upon the cousins.  The Jenkins cousins were also indicted on federal kidnapping, assault, and conspiracy charges. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, each defendant could face a life sentence in prison.

CNN quotes the indictment as saying that the cousins enlisted two women to entice Pennington to get into their pickup truck on April 4, 2011 for a trip into the pristine wilderness of the Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan.  “David Jason Jenkins and Anthony Ray Jenkins made a plan to assault Pennington because of his sexual orientation,” the indictment reads. The men wore clothing that made it difficult to see who they were, and disabled the dome light inside the pickup to further obscure their identities.  The FBI affadavit says that when David Jason Jenkins demanded Pennington service him sexually, Pennington refused. Jenkins threatened to rape him. The cousins stopped the truck, dragged Pennington out of the cab, and brutally assaulted him while shouting, “How do you like this, Faggot?”  Pennington reported to human rights advocates, “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.” Knocked unconscious, he lay on the forest floor. He awoke and managed to escape while his assailants were debating how best to dispose of his body. Pennington ran to a ranger station, broke a window to gain access to phone, and called police. He suffered multiple injuries, including wounds to his neck, head, back, and face. After treatment, Pennington was released from hospital care, but says he still struggles emotionally with the effects of the attack. Though the two women, Alexis Leann Combs Jenkins and Mable Ashley Jenkins, have been charged with kidnapping and aiding a kidnapping according to the authorities, Edgeonthenet says they have not been indicted by the federal grand jury.

This case is a landmark use of the Shepard/Byrd Act to prosecute an anti-gay hate crime in the nation, and interest around the nation is running high. Since the cousins used a truck and drove their victim on a federal roadway, the case fell under federal jurisdiction.  A U.S. Department of Justice statement read, in part, “The indictment marks the first federal case in the nation charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the Federal Hate Crimes Law.” Human Rights Campaign’s Michael Cole-Schwartz, who worked for the passage of the Shepard/Byrd Act, said, “It’s vindicating to see that the years of hard work that went into making sure this law was on the books is now being put into place.” Kentucky Equality Federation president, Jordan Palmer, commented on the larger context of the case. “The bigger picture here is that the U.S. attorney’s office is sending a message that you don’t try to hurt someone and you don’t injure them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said. The Kentucky Equality Federation vigorously lobbied the U.S. Department of Justice to become involved in the case.

As a defense, the cousins claim that Pennington had approached them for illicit drugs, and the deal went bad, a common attempt on the part of perpetrators of hate crimes to deflect attention away from the heinous nature of their acts, and to defame the victim. The Jenkins cousins will face their day in court on June 18.

April 14, 2012 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Kentucky, Kentucky Equality Federation, Kidnapping and sexual assault, LGBTQ, Matthew Shepard Act, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, U.S. Justice Department | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

  1. Geeezzz, look at their pictures!!! Just two of our country´s finer upstanding citizens! I know they are US citizens, but why even bother with a trial… what trial did they give their victims?!? Scum!

    Comment by dakotahgeo | April 14, 2012

  2. HURTING AND KILLING PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT IS SO WRONG. WHEN THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPENS, IT PUTS SORROW AND SADNESS IN JESUS’S CHRIST. I FEEL THE SAME WAY. I SEND MY LOVE AND PRAYERS TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS. GOD BLESS

    Comment by shuggypooh | February 27, 2014


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