Anthony Shelton, 19, pleaded guilty yesterday to assaulting a man because of the victim’s sexual orientation, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas, and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Dallas Division announced.
According to the plea agreement, Shelton admitted that he and Nigel Garrett 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.
A federal grand jury previously had returned an eighteen-count superseding indictment, against Shelton and three other men, that 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. Nigel Garrett, Chancler Encalade, and Cameron Ajiduah subsequently pleaded guilty to hate crime charges from this indictment, and all three await sentencing.
are violent crimes that attack the fundamental principles of the United
States to be free from fear of violence because of your sexual
orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, or national
origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “The Justice
Department will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate
of violence are an investigative priority for the U.S. Attorney's
Office," said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. "An assault
perpetrated because of one's race, ethnicity, religion, nationality,
sexual orientation, or among other prohibited factors, is an attack on
American values. We will leave no stone un-turned to prosecute hate
Shelton faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for his guilty plea to the hate crime charge. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
The investigation is being conducted by the ATF, the Plano Police Department, and the Frisco Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Batson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Saeed Mody of the Civil Rights Division.