Kentucky: 2 men acquitted on gay hate charges

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Anthony Ray Jenkins and his cousin David Jason Jenkins have both been found guilty over charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap in connection with the assault on a gay man in Kentucky but not of breaking US federal hate crime laws.

Prosecutors had argued that Anthony Jenkins and David Jenkins attacked 29-year-old Kevin Pennington last year at a rural state park because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

However, during the trial, lawyers for the accused said it was for reasons other than Mr Pennington’s sexuality and cited how Mr Pennington was looking to purchase drugs from the two men.

According to the Washington Post, Mr Pennington held hands with family members and let out an audible sigh when the not-guilty verdicts on the hate crimes charges were announced.

He left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

Jimmy Jenkins, an uncle who raised Anthony Jenkins, dropped his head into his hands and cried when the cousins were found guilty on the charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to a kidnap.

Family members of the accused gave evidence during the trial.

On Tuesday, the 18-year-old brother of Anthony Jenkins told jurors that the two men laughed about assaulting the victim and said they did it because the man is gay.

Last week, the wife of Anthony Jenkins gave evidence against her husband and spoke of how the two men bragged about attacking the victim and used homophobic language.

However, on Wednesday evening, the jury found the men not guilty of committing a hate crime.

Both men are due to be sentenced for the other convictions in February 2013.