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Texan man convicted of assaulting gays via Grindr sentenced to 15 years in prison

January 7, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Texan man convicted of assaulting gays via Grindr sentenced to 15 years in prison

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A Texas man, who was found guilty of using the dating app Grindr to target and assault gay men, was sentenced to 15 years in a federal lockup.

Nigel Garrett, 21, was one of four male suspects from the Dallas area who were accused of using the gay dating app Grindr to target, assault, berate, restrain, and rob homosexual victims over a three week period between January and February of 2017.

Garrett and the other co-defendants were initially charged with federal hate crimes and conspiring to cause bodily injury, according to the Dallas Morning News.

In a statement, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the Dallas Division of the ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas revealed that Garrett was sentenced Wednesday to serve 15 years behind bars for his participation in assaulting a man based on sexual orientation.

“Violence is an affront to the American principals of freedom and safety that our communities are entitled to,” Brit Featherston, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas stated. “The Department of Justice has made prosecution of violent crime a priority. The Eastern District of Texas intends to demonstrate that this priority is something more than just a slogan.”

One of four men who used dating app to assault, rob gay men is sentenced to 15 years in prison

Last May, a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment against Garrett and three other suspects. It claims that the defendants planned to meet a victim at the victim’s home and upon entering the residence, the suspects restrained the victim and covered his eyes with tape, physically assaulted him, and called him derogatory names for his sexual orientation.

The indictment also asserted that the defendants displayed a firearm during the invasion, stealing property from the victim, including his vehicle.

The indictment charged Garrett and co-conspirators Anthony Shelton, 19; Chancler Encalde, 20; and Cameron Ajiduah, 18; with federal hate crimes and conspiracy to cause bodily injury. It also included charges of kidnapping, carjacking, and possession of a firearm.

In August, Garrett and Adijuah pleaded guilty to their roles under the hate crime statute. “Garrett and Ajiduah invaded homes, robbed and assaulted their victims, and targeted their victims based on sexual orientation,” Featherston said at the time. “In response to such a crime, let it be known that law enforcement will leave no stone unturned to prosecute the likes of these criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”

The third defendant, Encalde, entered a guilty plea in September followed by Shelton, the fourth man found guilty of these crimes – who pleaded guilty in October.

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