Four Sentenced For Roles In Kidnapping And Attacking Gay Man

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(WTVQ-TV, LLC)
Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 6/19/2013 4:45 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

The judge calls it a unique case.  Unique, because it involves the first two people in the country convicted of a hate crime, based on the victim's sexual orientation.

The judge sentenced Alexis Jenkins to 8 years in prison for the hate crime.  Ashley Jenkins got 8 years and 4 months.  The judge called her the key defendant.  She lured Kevin Pennington into a car, where he was trapped, taken to Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan County, and beaten. 

The judge says Pennington may only be alive, because he decided jumping off a mountain would be better than receiving more of a beating.  Pennington got away while the other two defendants went to the car for a tire iron. 

This crime happened in April, 2011.  Now the case is over. 

"I wouldn't want to speak for Kevin, but I believe that he is satisfied.  I know that he's very happy as you would expect that this process has come to a conclusion, and I believe that he feels that justice has been done," said Kerry Harvey, U.S. Attorney.

The women plead guilty to the hate crime, but a jury acquitted Jason and Anthony Jenkins of the same crime; however, the jury found them guilty of kidnapping.  

The judge sentenced Jason Jenkins to 30 years in prison, calling him the leader. 

He sentenced Anthony Jenkins to 17 years. 

The judge says the women yelled homophobic slurs at Pennington, while the men beat him. 

Even with the first convictions in the country for a hate crime, because of a victim's sexual orientation, one of the defendant's lawyers say the case does not set a clear precedent.

"Two defendants that were acquitted of the hate crime, and the two defendants that plead guilty, plead guilty to that crime, so what really is the final word on this case, probably hasn't been written yet," said Willis Coffey, Anthony Jenkins' lawyer.

When the hearing ended, Kevin Pennington hugged his mother and grandmother. 
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