Texas man sentenced to 15 years in brutal attack on gay man he met online

Staff Reports

FORT WORTH, Texas — A federal judge has sentenced a North Texas man to more than 15 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping and severely beat a gay man he met through an online service.

Brice Johnson

Brice Johnson

Arron Keahey was hospitalized for 10 days with skull and face fractures following the Sept. 2013 attack.

Arron Keahey was hospitalized for 10 days with skull and face fractures following the Sept. 2013 attack.

Brice Johnson could have received a life sentence for crime, even though prosecutors dropped a hate crime count against the 19-year-old Springtown man in return for his June 20 guilty plea.

However, in assessing the 183-month sentence on Monday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor concluded Johnson kidnapped the man because of his sexual orientation.

According to an affidavit, Armstrong used social media app MeetMe to invite then 24-year-old Arron Keahey to his home in September 2013, and then beat him, bound his 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.

Keahey was hospitalized for 10 days with multiple skull and facial fractures that required plastic surgery. He also suffered nerve damage and had some teeth knocked out.

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.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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