DALLAS — Daryl Henry, 24, and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, 19, pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and other charges in connection with their involvement in a scheme to target gay men for violent crimes.
Daryl Henry pleaded guilty to one count of 18 U.S.C. § 249, (hate crime act), and one count of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, and carjacking). Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon pleaded guilty to one count of 18 U.S.C. § 249 (hate crime act), one count of 18 U.S.C. § 2119 (carjacking), and one count of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence).
“Kidnappings, carjackings, thefts, sexual assaults, and armed, violent attacks against innocent people are heinous crimes, and when perpetrators commit those crimes against victims because of their sexual orientation, the U.S. Department of Justice will continue zealously to seek justice for the victims and to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Prosecuting those who commit such monstrous acts because of victims’ sexual orientation is a priority of the Department of Justice, and we will continue to bring to justice anyone who commits such hateful, violent crimes.”
“These defendants used Grindr to single out their victim based on sexual orientation – something the Northern District of Texas simply will not tolerate,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time a dating app user has fallen victim to a violent crime. I’m urging the public to be vigilant about the dangers lurking online.”
“One of the FBI’s top priorities is to defend the civil rights of the communities we serve. We actively work with our law enforcement partners to investigate hate crimes and achieve justice for the victims impacted by these violent crimes,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The victims in this case were specifically targeted because of their sexual orientation. The FBI wants to reassure the public that we will pursue individuals who commit violent hate acts against any member of our community.”
According to court documents filed in connection with their guilty pleas, both Henry and Ceniceros-Deleon admitted Grindr was used, a social media dating platform primarily used by gay men, to lure gay men to a vacant apartment and other areas in and around Dallas for robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and hate crimes. Henry admitted that he and others held the victims against their will in the vacant apartment. Ceniceros-Deleon admitted that he and others traveled to local ATMs to withdraw cash from the victims’ accounts. Both Henry and Ceniceros-Deleon admitted that while the victims were being held captive they were subjected to taunts based upon the co-conspirators’ perception of the men’s sexual orientation.
In addition, Ceniceros-Deleon admitted to being the gunman in a Dec. 7, 2017, carjacking where he and others used Grindr to lure a man to a location and then forced the man, at gunpoint, to drive the conspirators to local ATMs to withdraw cash from the man’s account.
In March of 2019, Michael Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges in connection with this case. Atkinson will be sentenced in February of 2020. Sentencing for Ceniceros-Deleon is set for April 1, 2020. The court has not set a sentencing hearing for Henry.
The FBI’s Dallas Field Office conducted the federal investigation; a separate criminal investigation is being conducted by the Dallas Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Dana of the Northern District of Texas along with Special Litigation Counsel Rose E. Gibson and Trial Attorney Kathryn Gilbert of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
‘Bachelor’ Contestant Apologizes for White Lives Matter Shoot
(TMZ) — ‘Bachelor’ contestant Victoria F is finally addressing a controversy that’s been dogging her for a minute now — issuing a mea culpa for being part of a ‘White Lives Matter’ campaign.
The model — who’s currently still in the running for Peter Weber ‘s final rose — took to social media Saturday with a Notes-written apology for her eyebrow-raising shoot, which she posted on her Instagram story.
It says, “I would like to sincerely apologize for my involvement with We Love Marlins. My intention was only to support an endangered species.” She continues in her post, “I want to say that I unequivocally reject the beliefs of the white lives matter movement or any propaganda that supports racism of any kind.
It says, “I would like to sincerely apologize for my involvement with We Love Marlins. My intention was only to support an endangered species.”
She continues in her post, “I want to say that I unequivocally reject the beliefs of the white lives matter movement or any propaganda that supports racism of any kind. I would like to specifically apologize to people of color that are affected by racism daily.”
VF finished by saying, “It was never my intention to add fuel to the racial fire in this country. This has truly been an educational moment for me and I hope to be a voice against racism moving forward. I hope I can be shown grace as I navigate through this process.”
The timing of her apology is interesting … as we reported and as ‘Bachelor’ nation now knows, Victoria is in the final four group of girls who are taking Pete to their hometown.
We knew about the ‘WLM’ campaign — which was meant to be a ‘BLM’ pun to raise awareness about over-fishing white Marlin — but it went unaddressed as the show continued. About a week ago, however, Cosmo scrapped Victoria from their digital cover because of it.
No word if she ends up going the distance with Pete — rumor has it he doesn’t choose any of the remaining girls — but it seems her post-‘Bachelor’ life demanded she speak on this.
Jussie Smollett Facing 6 New Counts for Allegedly Faking Attack
CHICAGO (TMZ) — Jussie Smollett is facing felony charges in Chicago again — the special prosecutor just announced an indictment against the actor for the alleged homophobic attack against him last year.
A grand jury handed up the new indictment against Jussie. Dan Webb was appointed special prosecutor for the case last summer. We’re told he’s now facing 6 felony counts for lying to law enforcement. The indictment calls the 6 charges “disorderly conduct,” but all 6 involve allegations of lying to cops.
This effectively re-opens the controversial case that led to Smollett getting fired from “Empire.”
Special Prosecutor Webb says Jussie “planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Dept. officers.”
Webb adds the new charges — pared down from 16 to 6 — were re-filed “in the interest of justice.” Webb was critical of the State’s Attorney who dismissed the case, saying Kim Foxx’s office had no additional evidence from what the Grand Jury had when they indicted Smollett in the first place, so the dismissal made no sense.
Jussie and his attorneys had staged a legal battle against the special prosecutor, saying it would expose him to double jeopardy. That effort was shot down in court. You’ll recall Cook County prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts against Smollett in March 2019 … calling it a “just disposition and appropriate resolution,” but not an exoneration.
That decision pissed off Chicago law enforcement — and in August, Webb was appointed special prosecutor to investigate how the case was handled, and if there was any reason to renew charges.
A source connected to Jussie tells us, “The officers who re-investigated the case are the same ones who originally investigated it. These officers are currently being sued by Smollett. They have also spent taxpayer money on having these officers go to Los Angeles and harass members of Smollett’s team and friends.”
We’re told Jussie still maintains his innocence, and finds the timing of the indictment interesting — because Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx is up for re-election next month. He plans to plead not guilty.
Jussie will be arraigned February 24. We’re told he faces up to 3 years in state prison if convicted.
You’ll recall, Jussie claimed he was attacked on a frigid night in Chicago by 2 white men who put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.
However, 2 black men — brothers Abel and Ola Osundairo — were eventually detained, and told police Jussie paid them to stage the whole attack.
After the new indictment, the Osundairos’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt, says they remain “fully committed to the public knowing the truth” about the so-called attack — and will cooperate with the investigation. However, they did not testify before the new grand jury. Instead, the panel relied on the brothers’ previous testimony.
Jussie’s attorney, Tina Glandian, is also questioning the timing of the indictment, saying, “the attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State’s Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice.”
She also says … “After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence.”
Foxx’s campaign is calling out the timing of the special prosecutor’s announcement saying, “What’s questionable here is the James Comey-like timing of that charging decision, just 35 days before an election, which can only be interpreted as the further politicization of the judicial system, something voters in the era of Donald Trump should consider offensive.”
Nevada Man Guilty in Plot to Shoot up Las Vegas LGBTQ Bar
LAS VEGAS (Los Angeles Blade) — Conor Climo pleaded guilty to planning to bomb a synagogue and a gay bar among other targets. A Nevada man pleaded guilty Monday in Las Vegas to a series of charges, including planning to shoot customers at an LGBTQ bar, the AP reported.
Conor Climo, 24, a self-described white supremacist, pleaded guilty to planning to bomb a synagogue or Anti-Defamation League office and to shoot up a gay bar and a fast-food restaurant.
He apparently shared his plans with an FBI informant during an encrypted online chat.
He also shared that he is a member of the Feuerkrieg Division, an offshoot of the Atomwaffen Division neo-Nazi group.
Climo pleaded guilty to felony possession of an unregistered firearm, the AP reported. He faces two to three years in prison at his sentencing […]
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
- Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day