By CHRISTIN COYNE
A federal grand jury Wednesday returned a two-count indictment alleging kidnapping and a hate crime by a Springtown man accused of severely beating a gay man because of the victim’s sexual orientation.
Brice Alexaxon Johnson, now 19, reportedly invited 24-year-old Arron Keahey to his home early Sept. 2 after meeting Keahey on MeetMe.com, where Keahey identified himself as gay.
Johnson, according to police, beat Keahey after a brief interaction in front of Johnson’s house.
Johnson reportedly told police that he initially believed Keahey to be dead following the attack.
Johnson then put the man into the trunk of Keahey’s car and drove him to a friend’s home, according to investigators, who believe that Keahey was bound with electrical cord during that time based on ligature marks found on Keahey’s wrists.
Johnson’s friend reportedly told Johnson to take him to the hospital. Johnson then reportedly drove Keahey to the Springtown LifeCare ambulance station.
Keahey, who was hospitalized for 10 days, said his skull and facial fractures required facial reconstruction surgery and the beating caused brain trauma and memory loss affecting him even months later.
Investigators found that Johnson had saved Keahey’s cell phone number using a gay slur as a contact name. Johnson told police that he was playing a prank on Keahey because of his sexual orientation and used a gay slur when referring to Keahey, according to federal authorities.
Each count alleged in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.