Two of the Eastern Kentucky people who participated in the kidnapping and assault of Kevin Pennington because of his sexual orientation have plead guilty and by doing so have become the first in the United States to be convicted under the federal hate-crimes law.
Alexis Leeann Jenkins and Mable Ashley Jenkins, pleaded guilty to one charge of kidnapping and one charge of aiding others in causing bodily injury. The other two accused, David Jason Jenkins, and Anthony Ray Jenkins plead not guilty.
The pressure to make this a federal case came after months of failed talks and negotiations with Kentucky prosecutors. Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer officially requested federal intervention on August 24, 2011 and received an immediate response from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA.
Kentucky Equality Federation urged Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein with the U.S. Department of Justice as well as Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately begin federal investigations.
"United States Attorney Kerry Harvey has shown enormous outreach and support of the federal hate crimes legislation," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. My community wants exactly what every other citizen wants, equality under law and to love and protect our families. My community does not seek the approval of hate groups or intolerant people, only the acceptance that we have the same right to the pursuit of happiness.
By any measure, this case being federalized is a major victory for Kentucky's LGBTI community, but the price for this victory was too high, Kevin Pennington has been devastated by the these events, simply because of his sexual orientation. United States Attorney Kerry Harvey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have just sent a message to everyone, hate crimes will not be tolerated, and we thank everyone involved for listening to our request for federal assistance."
Kentucky Equality Federation Request for Federal Intervention: http://www.kyequality.org/BOD/2011/Harlan-County-Hate-Crime.pdf
"Kentucky Equality Federation extends its gratitude to Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein with the U.S. Department of Justice for taking our request seriously and acting promptly, as well as Walter Atkinson with the U.S. Department of Justice, and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Kerry Harvey," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.