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February 23, 2014

Feds charge teen with hate crime

Case involves alleged beating of man because of his sexual orientation

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A Springtown man accused of luring a gay man he met through a social networking site to his home and severely beating him has been charged with a federal hate crime.

The FBI filed a federal criminal complaint against Brice Johnson, 19, earlier this month, accusing him of brutally attacking 24-year-old Arron Keahey because of Keahey’s sexual orientation.

According to investigators, the two began conversing through MeetMe.com, where Keahey’s profile listed him as a gay man and Johnson’s did not.

After the two men chatted for some time, Johnson indicated he was interested in engaging in sexual activity with Keahey, inviting him to the Springtown home he shared with his family and giving him his phone number, according to the federal complaint.

The two men also reportedly exchanged a series of explicit text messages regarding planned sexual activity and directions to Johnson’s home.

When the two met up around 5:30 a.m. Sept. 2, Johnson came outside to meet Keahey and, after a brief interaction, severely beat Keahey, investigators say.

Keahey was reportedly put into the trunk of Keahey’s car and driven to the home of a friend of Johnson’s, where the friend told Johnson to take him to the hospital.

Investigators believe Keahey was bound with an electrical cord, leaving ligature marks on his wrists, during this time.

Around 7 a.m., Johnson dropped Keahey off at the LifeCare station in Springtown.

According to reports, Johnson initially told police that he found Keahey beaten and in the trunk of his car and saw a black truck driving away. However, he later admitted to inviting Keahey over and hitting Keahey before blacking out, saying Keahey made an unwanted advance (something Keahey denies), according to Springtown police. Johnson reportedly said he initially believed Keahey was dead.

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