Two Kentucky men have been indicted in what the Department of Justice says is the first case to involve sexual orientation charged under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The three-count indictment given by a federal grand jury in London, Ky., charges David Jason Jenkins, 37, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, for the April 4, 2011 kidnapping and assault of Kevin Pennington, and for conspiring to commit the kidnapping, a DOJ statement read.
The indictment charges the men with committing a hate crime in violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which, once signed by President Obama in 2009, expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. This case marks the first federal hate crime charge alleging a violation of the sexual orientation provision of the statute.
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 him to a state park and assault him, a DOJ statement read. According to the indictment, the defendants then drove Pennington a secluded area of the Kingdom Come State Park in Kentucky and assaulted him.
If convicted, the defendants could face life in prison.