The popular dating app Grindr was the place where the suspect was looking for gay men and he committed violent crimes against them, court records indicate.
According to authorities, the suspect who was identified as the 22-year-old Daniel Jenkins will spend the next 23 years behind bars after he was found guilty on multiple charges.
Jenkins was the fourth and last suspect in the case.
According to court documents, Jenkins admitted that he conspired to target nine Dallas area men for violent crimes, including kidnapping, carjacking, and hate crimes, because of his perception of the victims’ sexual orientation.
The four men started the crimes in December 2017. They started looking for the targets on Grindr, dating app mostly used by gay men, and lured them to an apartment located in the Dallas area.
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, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“This defendant singled out victims based on their perceived sexual orientation, then viciously assaulted them,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate these sorts of heinous, hate-based attacks. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots often lurk online. We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to remain vigilant.”
“This defendant targeted innocent victims for violent crimes simply because he believed they were gay,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentence affirms that bias-motivated crimes run contrary to our national values and underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively prosecuting bias-motivated crimes, including crimes against the LGBTQI community. We will continue to pursue justice for victims of bias-motivated crimes, wherever they occur.”
Jenkins pleaded guilty on June 2 and he admitted to joining the scheme along with other three people. Jenkins’ role was to create profiles on the dating app and lure the victims in the apartment.
His coconspirators, Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, and Daryl Henry, had previously pleaded guilty. Atkinson was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, Ceniceros-Deleon was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and Henry was sentenced to 20 years in prison.