US District Judge Gregory van Tatenhove has issued rulings in the first case tried under the Matthew Shepard Act. He ordered that David Jason Jenkins (38) be sent to jail for thirty years for his part in the kidnapping and attack of a gay men in eastern Kentucky. His cousin, Anthony Ray Jenkins, 22, will spend 17 years in jail.
A federal jury in London, Kentucky found the two men guilty in the 2012 kidnapping of Kevin Pennington, 30. They did, however, acquit both men of federal hate crimes.
According to the reports, on 4 April 2011, the two men were accompanied by Alexis Leann Combs Jenkins, Anthony Jenkins’ wife, and Mable Ashley Jenkins, Anthony Jenkins’ sister. The four kidnapped Pennington and transported him to Kingdom Come State Park near Cumberland, Harland County, Kentucky. There, they yelled slurs and beat him for being gay.
Assistant US Attorney Angie Cha told jurors that “They brutally assaulted Kevin because he is, in their words, a … faggot.” The two women pled guilty to the charges last spring in exchange for leniency and for testifying for the prosecution at the trial.
Van Tatenhove sentenced Mable Ahsley Jenkins to 100 months in prison, and Alexis Leann Jenkins to eight years. The women pled guilty to aiding and abetting kidnapping and a hate crime.
This was the first crime to be tried under the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act which makes it illegal to assault another person due to their real or perceived sexual orientation.