Eastern Ky. Relatives Originally Charged Under Federal Hate Crimes Law Sentenced To Prison

Jun 19, 2013

LONDON, Ky. - Two Eastern Kentucky men convicted in 2012 of kidnapping and assaulting a gay Letcher county man were both sentenced Wednesday to time in federal prison.

Jason Jenkins was sentenced to 30 years behind bars while his cousin Anthony Jenkins was given 17 years – both for their roles in the abduction and attack on Kevin Pennington. Defendants Ashley Jenkins and Alexis Jenkins received prison time as well for their role in aiding and abetting the crimes.

The case was the first in the nation to invoke the Matthew Shepard James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The two men were not found guilty of violating the sexual orientation provision in the law, but the two women pleaded guilty to all charges.

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey says Wednesday’s sentencing made a clear statement.

"It should send a message not only about hate crimes in particular but in general these sorts of truly senseless acts of violence won't be tolerated and will be dealt with in very severe terms," Harvey says.

Jason and Anthony Jenkins were charged with taking Pennington to a secluded spot in a state park in April 2011 and punching and kicking him while yelling anti-gay slurs.