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Testimony continues in Hate Crime Trial

LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Testimony continued Thursday in a Harlan County Hate Crime trial being held in London Federal Court.

Cousins Jason and Anthony Jenkins are accused of kidnapping and beating Kevin Pennington who is gay. Anthony's sister Ashley and wife Alexis have already pleaded guilty in the case in exchange for their testimony in the trial.

Pennington, 29, has testified the two women lured him in a truck saying they were going to get Suboxone. He said he did not know Jason and Anthony Jenkins were in the truck. He said the group took him to Kingdom Come State Park where he says they beat him while saying gay slurs. He says he jumped off a mountain to escape.

During the defense attorney's cross-examination, Pennington admitted he was a drug addict for at least three years, but told defense attorneys he never sold drugs even though Ashley Jenkins testified Pennington was going to get her a pill the night of the attack.

Defense attorneys said during the investigation, Pennington never told police or FBI agents drugs were the reason he was with the Jenkins the night of April 4th, 2011.

Defense attorneys claim the beating happened not because Pennington is gay, but instead over a bad drug deal and allegations the Jenkins thought Pennington's pill supplier was possibly a police informant.

Defense attorneys also pointed out Pennington had a relationship with Anthony Jenkins' older brother.

After Pennington's testimony finished on Thursday, Alexis Jenkins testified. She is married Anthony Jenkins.

During her testimony, she said she had found alleged love letters between Pennington and Anthony Jenkins' brother and told her husband. She claims Anthony thought it was "sick" his brother was possibly romantically involved with Pennington.

Crying on the stand, Alexis Jenkins said the night of the attack, they planned to kill Pennington in Kingdom Come State Park and dump his body.

She said when Pennington escaped, the four made up a plan to say the attack was over drugs. She said they started telling people "Kevin ripped them off" and the four agreed to all tell the same story to authorities. Alexis Jenkins said when the four were arrested, Jason Jenkins told them to keep their story straight.

Defense attorneys accuse both Ashley and Alexis Jenkins of trying to get a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying the alleged attack was because Pennington is gay. The U.S. Attorneys say they did not promise the women less time for their testimony.

Alexis Jenkins cried on the stand and told a defense attorney, "this is hard," because she was testifying against her husband.


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