Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Violent Kidnapping of Gay Man
|U.S. Department of Justice June 20, 2014|
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas, and the FBI Dallas Division announced that Brice Johnson, 19, of Springtown, Texas, pleaded guilty today in federal court to kidnapping a young gay man after inviting the victim to his home and brutally assaulting him.
Johnson admitted in plea documents that in the early morning hours of September 2, 2013, he connected with the adult male victim, identified as A.K., through the cell phone application for MeetMe.com. A.K.’s MeetMe.com page indicated he was a gay man, while Johnson’s web page indicated he was not gay. During their chat communications, Johnson said that he was interested in engaging in sexual activity with A.K. He invited A.K. to his home, gave A.K. his cell phone number and address, and they exchanged text messages planning their sexual encounter. Just a few minutes after A.K. arrived at the house, Johnson severely beat him and bound A.K.’s wrists with an electrical cord. Johnson then locked the victim into the trunk of his own car and drove the car to a family friend’s house. Individuals at the home repeatedly warned Johnson that they would call the police if he did not take A.K. to the hospital. Johnson eventually transported A.K. to an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) station in Springtown.
A.K. suffered multiple skull and facial fractures from the beating, casuing him to be hospitalized for 10 days at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. Johnson admitted that he saved A.K.’s cell phone number using a gay slur as a contact name.
During the plea hearing, Johnson admitted that he held and confined the victim against his will in order to conceal the violent assault and to remove A.K’s severely injured body from the home where Johnson was a long-term houseguest.
Sentencing has been set for November 17, 2014. Johnson faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“This was a senseless act of brutal violence that has no place in a civilized society,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Divisoin Jocelyn Samuels. “We are hopeful that today’s guilty plea brings some sense of justice for the victim and makes clear that the Department of Justice is committed to using every tool available to vindicate the rights of victims of violent crimes. The department will continue to work with our state, local, and federal law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate hate crimes allegations throughout the country.”
“Violent crimes of this nature will not be tolerated, and I commend the victim for his continued cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of this reprehensible conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
“The FBI is committed to thoroughly investigating violent crimes of this nature and will continue to work with our local and state law enforcement partners to ensure justice for victims of these crimes,” said Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Dallas Division.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, the Springtown Police Department, and the Parker County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cara Foos Pierce and Trial Attorney Saeed Mody of the Civil Rights Division.