A relative of two men charged in connection with a homophobic attack in the US state of Kentucky has said the two suspects laughed about assaulting the victim and said they did it because the man is gay.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Alex Jenkins, 18, gave evidence on Tuesday in court after spending a night in jail for refusing to testify against his brother, Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, and cousin, David Jason Jenkins, 37.

Alex Jenkins said David Jason Jenkins laughed when he talked about assaulting the victim. “He seemed glad that he had did it,” and added: “He seemed glad and kind of cocky”.

Prosecutors say the accused beat 29-year-old Kevin Pennington at Kingdom Come State Park in Harlan County in April 2011 because of his sexual orientation.

Under cross-examination, Alex Jenkins acknowledged telling multiple accounts of what the two men said but insisted jurors were hearing the truth.

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

The pair face charges of kidnapping, assault and violating hate crimes laws.

Defence attorneys for both men acknowledged a fight took place but say Mr Pennington’s sexual orientation was not the cause and both have pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.