Opening Arguments Begin In Hate Crime Trial

Oct 17, 2012

LONDON, Ky.  --  Federal prosecutors say two eastern Kentucky men charged with a hate crime used a drug deal to lure a gay man into a Harlan County state park where he was beaten in 2011.

In opening statements Wednesday in London, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins told jurors that 20-year-old Anthony Ray Jenkins of Partridge and his cousin, 37-year-old David Jason Jenkins of Cumberland yelled obscenities and anti-gay slurs at Kevin Pennington while trying to beat him to death in Kingdom Come State Park.

Defense attorneys for both men acknowledge a fight took place but say Pennington's sexual orientation was not the cause.

Federal prosecutors say this is the first case in the nation charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was passed in 2009.