A 22-year-old Dallas man was sentenced to over 23 years in prison after admitting he planned to kidnap, carjack and commit hate crimes against nine men because of their sexual orientation.
Daniel Jenkins was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking, one hate crime count and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
In early June, Jenkins was the fourth person to plead guilty to joining a conspiracy to target gay men through the dating app Grindr.
“This defendant singled out victims based on their perceived sexual orientation, then viciously assaulted them. The Department of Justice will not tolerate these sorts of heinous, hate-based attacks,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham of the Northern District of Texas in a news release. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots often lurk online. We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to remain vigilant.”
In December 2017, a group used the online dating app to “lure men to an apartment complex in Dallas,” a news release from the Department of Justice said. “When the men arrived, the conspirators held the men at gunpoint and forced them to drive to local ATMs to withdraw cash from their accounts.”
Jenkins admitted to bringing the victims to the apartment complex, pointing a gun at them, then robbing and assaulting them. He further admitted that the conspirators used gay slurs, taunted the victims and at least one member tried to sexually assault one of the men they lured.
The 22-year-old was sentenced to 280 months in prison. He faced a maximum of 26 years.
“This sentence sends a strong message that individuals who conduct violent, targeted attacks will be held accountable,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno in the release. “Everyone deserves to be and feel safe and we take this opportunity to urge the public to report suspected hate crimes to the FBI and local law enforcement.”
The other three men involved in the scheme, Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon and Daryl Henry were all sentenced to prison as well. Atkinson was sentenced to 11 years, Ceniceros-Deleon was sentenced to 22 years and Henry was sentenced to 20 years.