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Four relatives sentenced for attack on gay man

The federal judge called it a violent crime.

Four Eastern Kentuckians were the first people prosecuted under the Federal Hate Crimes Law after it was expanded to include sexual orientation.

Prosecutors say the Harlan County relatives kidnapped and attacked a gay man in April, 2011.

During sentencing on Wednesday in London Federal Court, Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove told the four defendants the crime was a "serious and violent conspiracy."

Prosecutors say the four relatives, Anthony, Jason, Ashley, and Alexis Jenkins kidnapped Kevin Pennington and took him to Kingdom Come State Park and beat him because he is gay. Last year, a jury acquitted Jason and Anthony Jenkins of the hate crime but convicted them of kidnapping.

The judge sentenced Jason Jenkins to 30 years.

Anthony Jenkins, who had no violent criminal history before this case, received 17 years.

Ashley and Alexis Jenkins pleaded guilty to the hate crime. The judge sentenced Alexis to eight years and Ashley to eight years and four months. Their defense attorneys and families did not comment.

Victim Kevin Pennington did not want to do an interview, but the U. S. Attorney said he was pleased with the outcome.

All four defendants are in custody.

The judge also ordered drug and alcohol rehabilitation in prison.

Officials say a hearing will be scheduled to determine if the defendants will pay restitution to Pennington.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys say it is too early to determine if these sentences will set a precedent in hate crime cases involving sexual orientation.

Filed under: Harlan Co. | Police investigate | Around the region | Court cases


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