March 15, 2012

Kentucky advocacy group pushes first federal hate crime arrests

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Four people were charged Wednesday with kidnapping a man and taking him to a state park in Kentucky's Appalachian region, then severely beating him while yelling slurs about his sexual orientation.

The FBI arrested 37-year-old David Jason Jenkins of Cumberland, 20-year-old Anthony Ray Jenkins and 19-year-old Alexis Leann Combs Jenkins of Partridge and 19-year-old Mable Ashley Jenkins and charged them with kidnapping and aiding a kidnapping.

The charges stem from an incident on April 4, 2011, when, the FBI said, the four took the man against his will into Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland in Harlan County and beat him until he escaped.

Kyle Edelen, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lexington, said the kidnapping charge carries a maximum of life in prison and that the investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors have 30 days to bring the case before a grand jury.

Attorney Michael Murphy, who represents Alexis Jenkins, said he was assigned the case this morning and hadn't digested all of the details in the FBI's affidavit. But, Murphy also wondered about the time elapsed between the alleged attack and the federal charges.

"Why, after all this time, has the federal government come in and charged them now?" Murphy said.

Attorney James Hibbert, who represents Mable Jenkins, declined comment. Messages left for the attorneys for David Jenkins and Anthony Jenkins, were not immediately returned Wednesday.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, a civil rights group, pushed to have the four charged under a 2009 federal hate crimes 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.

FBI Special Agent Anthony M. Sankey indicated in an affidavit that the investigation started out as one into a hate crime because of sexual orientation, but that the four have only been charged with kidnapping.

David and Anthony Jenkins were initially charged in state court with attempted murder, while Alexis and Mable Jenkins were charged with complicity to attempted murder. Anthony and Mable Jenkins are siblings. It was not immediately clear how, or if, they were related to David Jenkins and Alexis Jenkins.

Harlan County Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson said the March 27 trial in state court for the four will be called off and the charges likely dropped now that federal authorities have stepped in. Johnson said it made 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.

Sankey said the man went 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.

The man told investigators that David Jenkins asked and then demanded a sexual favor from him, which was refused, Sankey wrote. Then, the man said, David Jenkins threatened to violently rape him, Sankey said.

Sankey wrote 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 police in April 2011, 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 in those statements. Authorities said David Jenkins pointed to Anthony Jenkins as the one who began the attack, saying he only joined in after it had started. None of the four uses any anti-gay slurs in the statements.

Mable Jenkins said in her statement that David Jenkins got out of the truck when it stopped and "starts beating the crap out of the boy."

"So me, Anthony and Alexis get (David) off of him and get him in the truck and he jumps out again and starts hitting him again and finally we get in the truck and leave," Mable Jenkins wrote.

The man escaped when Anthony and David Jenkins went back to the truck to discuss getting a tire iron, Sankey wrote. After hiding behind some rocks for about 20 minutes, the man saw the truck drive away and made his way to a ranger station, Sankey added. Unable to locate a ranger, the man broke into the station and called 911.

Later, Sankey wrote, David Jenkins told an acquaintance in a recorded phone call that Anthony Jenkins initiated the attack on the man, but said he was beaten with "our fists," and that Anthony Jenkins disliked the man because he was "a faggot."

The man suffered injuries to his chest, head, back, face, neck and ear. The man was treated at a hospital and later released. Palmer said the man has access to counseling and is "doing better than he was."

"He was afraid for his life," Palmer said.

Four face federal charges after allegedly assaulting gay man

Four people face federal charges in the alleged kidnapping of a gay man in Harlan County who said they attacked him because of his sexual orientation.

The four aided one another in kidnapping Kevin Pennington and holding him for the purpose of assaulting him, according to a federal complaint sworn out by Anthony M. Sankey, an FBI agent.

The alleged crime was a federal offense because the four used instruments of interstate commerce in the crime: a Chevrolet Silverado pickup and U.S. 119, a federal road.

Charged are David Jason Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland; Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, and his wife, Alexis Leeann Jenkins, 19, of Partridge; and Mable Ashley Jenkins, 19, also of Partridge.

The two men are cousins, and Mable Ashley Jenkins, who goes by Ashley, is Anthony Jenkins' sister, Pennington has said.

It is a federal crime to attack a person because of his or her sexual orientation. The four have not been charged under that federal hate-crimes law, but defense attorneys said it's likely they will be.

Alleged violence against a gay person "is going to get you a hate crime," said Andrew M. Stephens, a Lexington attorney who represents David Jason Jenkins.

The four had their initial appearance in federal court in London on Wednesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins said in court that the government would ask to have all four held in jail until the trial. They face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The alleged assault that led to the charges happened last year.

Pennington, 28, of Letcher County, said he had known the four for years and once had had a relationship with a male relative of Anthony and Ashley Jenkins.

Pennington told the Herald-Leader that about a week before the alleged kidnapping, Ashley Jenkins asked him to go out with her, but he turned her down in pointed terms, angering her.

Pennington said he also had rejected advances from David Jason Jenkins.

Sankey, the FBI agent, said in a sworn statement that Pennington told him that the two young women came to his home on April 4 and that Ashley Jenkins said she wanted some Suboxone. That is a pain medication often abused in Kentucky.

Pennington said he already had arranged to get a Suboxone strip. The two agreed that Ashley Jenkins would drive Pennington to get the drug and pay for it if he would share it with her, according to Sankey's affidavit.

David Jason Jenkins and Anthony Jenkins were in the truck outside.

The group skipped the drug buy because some of them were concerned the source was cooperating with police. Instead, Anthony Jenkins drove to Kingdom Come State Park, just outside Cumberland, refusing Pennington's request to let him out.

Jenkins parked on a trail, then he and Jason Jenkins dragged Pennington from the truck and began punching and kicking him, he told Sankey.

Pennington said the two women cheered on the attack, yelling "Kill that faggot," and "You're going to die out here," Sankey said in his statement.

During a lull in the attack, Pennington was able to run away and hide in the woods. He waited until the four stopped looking for him and left, then limped to a ranger station and called for help.

Pennington said he sustained various injuries, including bruises over much of his body, a torn ligament in his shoulder, a closed-head injury and a torn ear.

Jason and Anthony Jenkins were charged in Harlan County with attempted murder, and Ashley and Alexis Jenkins with complicity.

In statements to police, Anthony, Ashley and Alexis Jenkins pointed to Jason Jenkins as the main aggressor. Jason Jenkins admitted hitting Pennington but said Anthony Jenkins hit him first, according to his statement.

Jason Jenkins told his ex-wife in a call recorded at the jail that Anthony Jenkins didn't like Pennington because he was gay.

A woman who was in jail with Ashley and Alexis Jenkins said the two had bragged about helping plan the attack and talked of how funny Pennington looked lying on the ground while the men beat him, according to Sankey's affidavit.

Commonwealth's Attorney Henry Johnson said Wednesday that he would drop the state charges against the four. The stiffer potential penalty and the lack of parole in the federal court system make it a better venue to handle the case, Johnson said.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, which advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and intersex people, had urged federal authorities to investigate the alleged attack on Pennington, arguing it was a hate crime motivated by his sexual orientation.

Jordan Palmer, president of the federation, applauded the federal charges in the case.

"In a civil society, we must live together in peace and harmony," Palmer said in a statement. "We cannot allow citizens to be targeted because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Latino, or any other manner you can separate and label a person."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/03/14/2109216/four-arrested-by-fbi-for-alleged.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

Four from Cumberland charged with kidnapping Case remains under investigation by FBI

Joe P. Asher; Staff Writer
Published: March 15, 2012

Four Harlan County residents are being held on federal charges of kidnapping. The Kentucky State Police assisted the FBI on Tuesday evening in picking up David Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland; Anthony Jenkins, 20, of Partridge; Mable Jenkins, 19, of Partridge; and Alexis Jenkins, 19, of Partridge.

The arrests stem from an alleged incident where two men and two women took Kevin Pennington to Kingdom Come State Park and he was severely beaten in April of last year.

Pennington reportedly sustained injuries to his head, chest, back, face, left arm and leg, his neck and ear.

According to an affidavit prepared by FBI Agent Anthony Sankey, Pennington was at his home when the two female defendants stopped by and asked Pennington if he would go riding with them.

Pennington stated he did not know who was in the truck when he first entered, but did recognize two male defendants when a light was turned on in the truck. Upon recognizing them, Pennington asked to be taken home and was told they were just riding up to the park and would turn around.

The affidavit also stated, the vehicle stopped when they drove up on a fallen tree across the road on Little Shepherd Trial. The two male defendants then pulled Pennington from the vehicle and started to punch and kick him while making anti-homosexual statements. During the attack Pennington was covering his face and they were all screaming "how you like this faggot."

Pennington was able to escape when the defendants went back to the truck, while they walked to the truck they were discussing getting a tire iron. Pennington jumped down the mountain and hid behind some rocks where he hid for approximately 20 minutes after seeing the headlights pull away.

Pennington then made his way to the park ranger station in search of help. He was unable to locate any park rangers, so he broke out a window in the park manager's residence and used the telephone inside to call 911. He remained at the residence until the police arrived.

David and Anthony Jenkins were originally arrested on indictment warrants returned by a Harlan County Grand Jury on a charge of attempted murder. Mable and Alexis Jenkins were served with indictment warrants on a charge of complicity to attempted murder. These charges will be dropped in deference to the federal case.

Also alleged in the affidavit, "there is sufficient probable cause to believe that David Jason Jenkins, Anthony Ray Jenkins, Mable Ashely Jenkins and Alexis Leeann Jenkins, aided and abetted by each other, did willfully and unlawfully kidnap, abduct, seize, confine, inveigle, decoy and carry away, Kevin Pennington and hold him for the purpose of assault, and did use an instrumentality of interstated commerce, to wit; a vehicle and an interstate road, in committing the offense, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. SS 1201 (a)(1) and 2."

At this time, federal authorities have not charged the defendants with a hate crime, however, the investigation is still ongoing.

"United States Attorney Kerry Harvey has shown enormous outreach and support of the federal hate crimes legislation," Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer said in a statement. "We have remained in regular contact with the commonwealth's attorney, county attorney, and the United States Attorney throughout this investigative process.

We also extend our thanks to Commonwealth's Attorney Henry Johnson and County Attorney Fred Busroe Jr."

Palmer continued, "In a civil society we must live together in peace and harmony. We cannot allow citizens to be targeted because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Latino, or any other manner you can separate and label a person."

Read more: http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=13D8F928D1BF59A8&p_docnum=1

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Feds arrest 4 in alleged hate crime

Debbie Caldwell: Editor
Published: March 14, 2012

An alleged hate crime has now moved to the federal level. Four people are being held in federal custody at the Laurel County Detention Center for the alleged beating of a man at Kingdom Come Park last year. The Kentucky State Police assisted the FBI on Tuesday evening in picking up David Jenkins, 37, of Cumberland; Anthony Jenkins, 20, of Partridge; Mable Jenkins, 19, of Partridge; and Alexis Jenkins, 19, of Partridge.

The arrests stem from an alleged incident that was investigated by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Matt Cope, who now works for the Harlan County Sheriff's Office. It was investigated by Cope because of it allegedly occurred on state park property.

Cope said in a previous report that a 911 call came in at 11:47 p.m. on April 4. It's alleged that two men and two women took Kevin Pennington to Kingdom Come State Park and he was severely beaten.

David and Anthony Jenkins were arrested on indictment warrants returned by a Harlan County Grand Jury on a charge of attempted murder.

Mable and Alexis Jenkins were served with indictment warrants on a charge of complicity to attempted murder.

The Kentucky Equality Federation, an advocacy group for equal treatment of all citizens became involved with the case and asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the alleged hate crime in Harlan County.

In a recent press release, the Federation described the incident as "an unprovoked attack on a gay man" that was motivated by hate or intolerance toward sexual minorities. The group forwarded a report of the alleged hate crime to U.S. Department of Justice, and it also renewed its request that the Department intervene under newly federal hate crimes legislation.

Harlan County Commonwealth Attorney Henry Johnson said some prosecutors met with him and some members of his staff and had discussed the case along with a representative of the victim. "Because of the fact that the federal penalties for a hate crime of this nature are more stringentthe consensus was if the federal authorities were willing to undertake the case that would be a good course of action. Everybody was in agreement on that," Johnson said. "So, there was an investigation conducted and apparently it has resulted in federal indictments. The state case was set for trial on March 27, but that will be dropped in deference to the federal prosecution."

Johnson said the federal investigation has been under way for some time. "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. "They've put a lot of time and effort into it. I know they have really done the work that needs to be done for the federal indictments to be returned."

Information on the federal charges was not available at press time. The Enterprise will attempt to get information today for a follow-up on this report.

Mable Jenkins
David Jenkins
Alexis Jenkins
Anthony Jenkins

Harlan Daily Enterprise
Heartland Publications, LLC.

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