News Brief: Man Faces 15 Years After Using Grindr to Carry Out Assault

by Aaron Shepard
in News
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News Brief Man Faces 15 Years After Using Grindr to Carry Out Assault

News Brief Man Faces 15 Years After Using Grindr to Carry Out Assault

News Brief:  Man Faces 15 Years After Using Grindr to Carry Out Assault

Nigel Garrett, 21, of Texas, was sentenced this to 15 years in prison after using Grindr to seek out and attack gay men.

Prosecutors believe that Garrett and three other men used Grindr to find a victim, using a fake profile.  They then arranged a hook-up at the victim’s home, where the gun-toting homophobes then turned up, overpowered him, tied him up with tape, physically assaulted him, and screamed anti-gay slurs.  They proceeded to then ransack the property, before making a getaway with the victim’s valuables and motor vehicle.

According to the plea agreement, “Garrett admitted that he, Anthony Shelton, and Chancler Encalade used Grindr, a social media dating platform for gay men, to arrange to meet the victim at the victim’s home.  Upon entering the victim’s home, the defendants restrained the victim with tape, physically assaulted the victim, and made derogatory statements to the victim for being gay.  The defendants brandished a firearm during the home invasion, and they stole the victim’s property, including his motor vehicle.”

Because Texas does not have hate crime laws protecting gay people, he faced a federal hate crime conviction under the The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allows the Justice Department to target criminals in states with no such protections.

A federal grand jury previously had returned an eighteen-count superseding indictment, against Garrett, Shelton, Encalade and Cameron Ajiduah, which included charges for hate crimes, kidnappings, carjackings, and the use of firearms to commit violent crimes.  The indictment also charged the defendants with conspiring to cause bodily injury because of the victims’ sexual orientation during four home invasions in Plano, Frisco, and Aubrey, Texas, from January 17 to February 7, 2017.  Anthony Shelton, Chancler Encalade, and Cameron Ajiduah subsequently pleaded guilty to hate crime charges from this indictment, and all three await sentencing.

Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said, “Violence, in any form, is an affront to the American principles of freedom and safety that our communities are entitled to.  The Department of Justice has made prosecution of violent crime a priority.  The Eastern District of Texas, in prosecuting this case and others like it, intends to demonstrate that this priority is something more than just a slogan.”