4 relatives sentenced for kidnap, assault of gay man in Kentucky

4 relatives sentenced for kidnap, assault of gay man in Kentucky
CNN
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Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 10:01am

A court has sentenced four relatives to years in prison for their roles in kidnapping and assaulting a gay man in Kentucky

The four were accused of luring Kevin Pennington into a truck in April 2011 and driving him up a deserted road into Kingdom Come State Park.

They pulled him out of the car and assaulted him, and as they were looking for a tire iron to kill him, he escaped, according to prosecutors.

David J. Jenkins, 39, was sentenced Wednesday to three decades in prison while his 22-year-old cousin, Anthony R. Jenkins, will be locked up for 17 years.

A jury in London, Kentucky, found the two men guilty of kidnapping and conspiracy, but acquitted both of federal hate crime charges in a major blow to the Justice Department.

Two female relatives who pleaded guilty to the scheme to kidnap and assault the man -- as well as taking part in a hate crime -- were also sentenced Wednesday. The women were the first to be convicted under the federal sexual orientation provision to the hate crime law.

Mable A. Jenkins, 20, got eight years and four months in prison, and Alexis L. Jenkins, also 20, was sentenced to eight years. The two women testified against their male relatives.

Some of the charges against the relatives fell under the Matthew Shepard James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law that outlaws attacks based on a victim's sexual orientation.

Federal hate crime law was expanded in 2009 to include a victim's perceived sexual orientation, gender or disability.

The law was named for Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Both men were attacked and killed in separate incidents in 1998 that drew national attention to the need to toughen hate crime laws.

Shepard was gay, and Byrd was killed in a racially- motivated attack. He was black.

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