A sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in London took place Thursday for two women who entered guilty pleas to hate crime charges in connection to an April 2011 incident. Mable Ashley Jenkins, 20, and Alexis Jenkins, 20, both of Cumberland, were scheduled to appear in court at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
The purpose of the hearing is for attorneys on both sides to make recommendations to the judge as to what they feel an appropriate sentence would be. The judge will take these recommendations into consideration and a sentence will be issued at a later date.
Mable and Alexis Jenkins are the first people to plead guilty to violating federal hate crime laws based on the sexual orientation of the victim. Both Mable and Alexis Jenkins pleaded guilty approximately 10 months ago to aiding and abetting kidnapping and aiding and abetting the hate crime assault against Kevin Pennington on April 4, 2011.
According to previous reports, the women admitted violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This act expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain hate crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation. The Shepard-Byrd legislation criminalizes certain acts of violence causing bodily injury that are motivated by any person’s actual or perceived color, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.
The women admitted they lured Pennington into a truck with two other defendants, Anthony Ray Jenkins and David Jason Jenkins. The truck was driven to where Pennington was reportedly assaulted by the male defendants.
Anthony Ray Jenkins and David Jason Jenkins were acquitted of the hate crime charge after a jury trial in U.S. District Court about four months ago. The Jenkins men were convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnapping. The sentencing hearing for Anthony and Jason Jenkins was held on Feb. 21, but no sentence has been issued at this time.
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