Weatherford Democrat

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September 24, 2013

Gay man’s beating investigated as hate crime

Springtown teen remains jailed on second-degree assault charge that could be enhanced

By CHRISTIN COYNE

SPRINGTOWN – A Labor Day beating that left a gay Springtown man seriously injured is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Brice Alexaxon Johnson, 18, reportedly told police that he couldn’t find a pulse after beating Arron Keahey, 24, who had come to meet at Johnson at his Springtown home after the two became aquainted through meetme.com, and that he initially thought he killed Keahey.

Keahey was hospitalized as a result of the attack, which reportedly left him with a subdural hematoma and multiple fractures to his head.

Johnson was arrested on Sept. 10 on a charge of second-degree felony aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.

After taking the initial report regarding the attack on Sept. 2, Springtown Police Lt. Curtis Stone said he began investigating the beating as a possible hate crime since the attack might have occurred because of a prejudice or bias against the victim’s sexual orientation.

If a hate crime enhancement is added to make it a first-degree felony charge, Stone said it would happen after the case is handed over to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.

The attack is believed to have occurred during the early morning hours of Labor Day.

Paramedics reportedly contacted authorities around 7 a.m. after Johnson brought Keahey to the Springtown LifeCare station.

Initial reports from medics indicated they were concerned and that Keahey’s injuries could be life-threatening, Stone said.

After Keahey awoke at a Fort Worth hospital, he told reportedly told Stone that he remembered going to meet a man he knew as “Michael” from a social networking phone app but had not made it into the house when he was attacked on the front porch.

Though Keahey is doing a lot better than when he first saw him in the hospital and is talking more, Stone said Keahey hasn’t been able to remember many of the details after the assault began.

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