Kerry Harvey and Jordan Palmer announced a federal grand jury in London, Kentucky, indicted two men in the first Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Act application.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — A federal grand jury in London, Ky. on Thursday indicted two men in the first federal application of the Matthew Shepard – James C. Bryd hate crimes law since it was signed into law in October of 2009, according to an announcement by Kerry B. Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, of Partridge, Ky., and his cousin, David Jason Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland, Ky., 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 began when the two men, accompanied by Anthony Jenkins’ 19-year-old wife, Alexis Leann Combs Jenkins of Partridge, and his sister, Mable Ashley Jenkins, 19, took the victim Kevin Pennington, against his will into Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland in Harlan County on April 4, 2011, and severely beat him while yelling slurs about his sexual orientation.
FBI Special Agent Anthony M. Sankey stated in an affidavit that the women allegedly cheered on the attack, yelling “kill that faggot.”
Pennington said 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.
County, then return home.
According to court documents, David Jenkins asked and then demanded oral sex from him, which was refused, after which David Jenkins threatened to violently rape him.
“During the attack (the victim) was covering his face and they were all screaming ‘how do you like this faggot?’” Sankey wrote. “Ashley yelled `yeah that what you like queer were gonna kill your … now.’”
In hand-written statements to Harlan County law enforcement at the time of the incident, each of the four acknowledged having the man in the truck that night, and three of the four implicated David Jenkins as the instigator of the attack.
Authorities said David Jenkins pointed to Anthony Jenkins as the one who began the attack, saying he only joined in after it had started.
Harlan County Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson said the charges in state court were withdrawn as it “made more sense to let the case go federal because the potential penalties are greater.”
Alexis and Mable Jenkins are not named in the new indictment and a note on the U. S. District Court webpage says the earlier charges against them have been terminated.
“We wanted this in federal court where the judges are appointed, not elected, so they don’t have to keep a portion of the population happy,” said Jordan Palmer, who is also president of the group.