Brice Johnson, 19, is accused of contacting Arron Keahey, 24, using using the mobile app MeetMe, and engaging in a conversation that turned sexual. Prosecutors say that Johnson invited Keahey man to his home, then began to beat him.
Prosecutors allege Johnson bound Keahey’s wrists, placed him in the trunk of his car and drove him to a family friend’s home. They say he eventually drove the victim to an EMS station.
The investigation revealed that on the night of the incident, Johnson saved Keahey’s cell phone number using a gay slur as a contact name, and Johnson later stated that he was playing a prank on the victim because of his sexual orientation, again using a gay slur when referring to Keahey.
The Labor Day attack left Keahey with broken facial bones that required plastic surgery. He also suffered nerve damage and had some teeth knocked out.
According to the complaint, Johnson, 19, of Springtown, Texas, was charged with willfully causing bodily injury to a person because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation of the victim. Johnson could face 10 years in prison if convicted under federal hate crime law.
A crowd-funding page has been established to assist Keahey with his medical expenses.