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Kentucky

Kentucky men indicted under Matthew Shepard federal hate crime law

Thursday, April 12, 2012

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.

Anthony Jenkins (left) and David Jenkins.
Booking Photos courtesy Laurel County, Ky. Sheriff’s Department

The Shepard-Byrd law criminalizes acts of physical violence which are motivated by numerous factors, including one’s race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The law also helps provide federal resources for investigating crimes and indicting alleged criminals.

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 was able to escape during a lull in the attack, and hid in the woods until the four stopped looking for him.

Kevin Pennington

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.

Pennington told investigators that he
had gone for a ride with the four, but asked to be taken home after a few minutes. The group told the man they planned to go to Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland in Harlan
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.

Special Agent Anthony M. Sankey wrote in the affidavit that the truck stopped in the park because a tree had fallen across the road and Anthony and David Jenkins pulled the man 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 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.

The Jenkins were first charged in state circuit court in Harlan County after the attack, charges that were dropped once the Federal authorities filed a complaint.

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.”

“I’ve been aware of the fact that there was an investigation going on, and the federal authorities have been very thorough in their investigation on this,” Johnson said.

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.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, a civil rights group, pushed to have the four charged under the Shepard-Bryd law.

“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, executive director of the group.

Palmer said he was pleased to see a hate-crime charge filed in the attack on Pennington.

“We do believe that a hate crime occurred,” he said.

The federation, which advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, had asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the case.

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Filed under: Kentucky

38 more reader comments:

  1. Sorry it has to be used, but glad it’s there. About time people are held accountable.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:25pm
  2. Yayyyyy!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:26pm
  3. Good start. Make them realise the error of their ways.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:26pm
  4. thank God he survived

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:27pm
  5. Glad the law will see to it that these 2 people get what they deserve.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:28pm
  6. DAMN. :(

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:28pm
  7. When will it end?

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:29pm
  8. Very glad he suvived and even joyous that those ignorant, intolerant people were caught and actually tried…and it stuck! It’s about time!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:29pm
  9. @Donald, they haven’t been tried in court, yet. This was just a Federal Indictment… it still has to go before the jury, which may take forever and ever.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:33pm
  10. It will never end as long as bigotry exists

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:33pm
  11. let the punishment fit the crime…hurl some vocal crap the in-bred a-holes

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:41pm
  12. It’s so sad for this to be happening..Hang him HIGH!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:47pm
  13. :o(

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:48pm
  14. and they learned it all in church!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:48pm
  15. I live in Louisville, KY and I’m proud they are nailing them with a federal crime! Let’s keep this up KY!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:50pm
  16. Im glad he survived to and am overjoyed that he will get to see his assailants tried and sentenced (hope for the max *cross fingers)

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:56pm
  17. I agree with E.T. Turner… its not cool it had to be used, but it is a good thing the law exists!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:58pm
  18. It is time they enforce the hate crime law recently a young guy in Tulsa was beaten and they do not consider it a hate crime there

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:01pm
  19. I’m so glad I moved away from where that shit is hAppening!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:08pm
  20. I’m from Northern Kentucky. Doesn’t matter though; hate to anyone from anyone, no matter where they’re from, is unacceptable. Also, for those of you who are unaware of or want to know more about Matthew Shepard, I recommend reading The Laramie Project. Short read but it’s brilliant.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:08pm
  21. Yeah I’m glad I moved away from there years ago. It isn’t as bad as it used to b, at least the guy survived these dumbasses

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:24pm
  22. We have the Laramie Project here in MI, 12 APR-15 APR, in Midland

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:28pm
  23. I hope they get very long sentences. Why the hell aren’t the women also being charged?? Damn sick bastards!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:32pm
  24. I agree with Judie that they should have long sentences but also that the women should be charged as well. they were there and could have stopped it but they didn’t they cheered it on instead. Charge them as well because they are just as quilty as the men.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:45pm
  25. Hates gays, demands oral sex from a man. Yup, that one sick puppy.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:49pm
  26. They are from the county I live in, Cumberland is about 20 mins. away from where I am.

    Sometimes, I hate it here. People are SO bigoted and close-minded. I am SO happy they are being charged with a hate crime!!! I think the 2 girls should be charged as well. They need jail time too!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:50pm
  27. This doesn’t surprise me none coming from KY as that is my home state, but the reason these people do this is cause they are secretly gay or lesbian and don’t know how to handle it!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 9:56pm
  28. well Alicia they will know how to handel it now no dought in my mind and I hope Bubba lets them have it every fucking night there in there

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 10:37pm
  29. unkind words and generalizations…..

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 10:55pm
  30. Is this the FIRST time they have convicted someone over this law? It’s been since 2009- I know there have been more cases where this would have been useful then… but it’s a good start, I guess.

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 12:20am
  31. It is about time. They most surely was dealing with their own sexuality. A person that is secure with themselves doesn’t go around Hating on Gods Children.

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 2:48am
  32. Lock them away forever.

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 3:02am
  33. This is great news. It’s one thing to bring in a new law but even better when it is used against scum like this. Lock them up and throw away the key.

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 3:53am
  34. It is our hope at The Kentucky Fairness Alliance that these charges may prevent future episodes of violence in our state and in other states.

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 4:29am
  35. Glad to hear that they are enforcing the law…

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 6:48am
  36. About time!

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:47am
  37. Thank God Matthew Shepard’s death was not in vain!!!

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 9:57am
  38. When will the violence and hatred ever end???????? Oh I know…….. when SOME preachers and politicians along with hate groups STOP not only condoning hate/violence but indirectly encouraging it!

    Posted on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 2:45pm