Two men plead guilty to targeting gay men using Grindr to rob and beat them
Two out of four men have pleaded guilty on federal hate crime and conspiracy charges for targeting gay men in home invasions.
The men, all from Frisco, Texas, were indicted on the crimes for which they could face up to life in prison.
An 18-count indictment was returned by a grand jury against Anthony Shelton, 19; Nigel Garrett, 21; Chancler Encalade, 20; and Cameron Ajiduah, 18.
Garrett and Ajiduah pleaded guilty to the charges and face up to life in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Shelton and Encalade are awaiting trial.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate hate crimes against any individual based on sexual orientation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore.
“Hate crimes are violent crimes, but also attack the fundamental principles of the United States.”
Investigators said that the men used Grindr to set up dates with four men before they invaded their homes.
Officials say the men would then assault their victims, restraining them using tape, and make homophobic comments.
The four home invasions took place between January 17 and February 7 in the Collin and Denton counties.
As well as the abuse, the men would steal their cars and belongings.
The four men were charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, carjacking and possession of a firearm in furtherance of these crimes.
A man who was sentenced to life in prison earlier in April for beating a gay man to death was since served another life sentence in federal court.
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Kelly Schneider had been set for a March trial after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in state court earlier this year.
Idaho’s hate crime law does not protect on the basis of sexual orientation. He pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dropping robbery, theft and conspiracy charges.
But the US Attorney’s Office has since said that he had been served another 28-year sentence.