LONDON, Ky. — Four people from eastern Kentucky have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the kidnapping and attack of a gay man.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove on Wednesday ordered 38-year-old David Jason Jenkins to prison for 30 years, and his cousin, 22-year-old Anthony Ray Jenkins, locked up for 17 years.
A federal jury in London, Ky., found the two men guilty in 2012 of kidnapping 30-year-old Kevin Pennington, although the jury acquitted both men of federal hate crime charges.
The April 4, 2011 incident began when the two men, accompanied by Anthony Jenkins’ then 19-year-old wife, Alexis Leann Combs Jenkins, and his sister, Mable Ashley Jenkins, 19, took Pennington against his will into Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland in Harlan County and severely beat him while yelling slurs about his sexual orientation.
Co-prosecutor, Assistant U. S. Attorney Angie Cha told jurors, “They brutally assaulted Kevin because he is, in their words, a … faggot.”
The two women had made separate guilty pleas in the case last spring in exchange for more lenient sentences, and for their testimony for the prosecution at trial.
Van Tatenhove sentenced Mable Ashley Jenkins to 100 months in prison and Alexis LeeAnn Jenkins to eight years in prison. The two women pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting kidnapping and a hate crime.
Jason Jenkins and Anthony Jenkins, who are cousins, were the first in the nation to face prosecution under a section of the of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the federal law that makes it illegal to assault another person because of the victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation.