March 15, 2012

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
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