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May 14, 2014

Springtown man indicted on federal hate crime charges

The victim, who is gay, was hospitalized for 10 days for multiple skull and facial fractures, authorities said.

A Springtown man accused of severely beating a gay man has been indicted on federal hate crime charges.

Brice Johnson, 19, was indicted on charges of kidnapping and “willfully causing bodily injury to a person because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation of that person,” according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

The indictment was returned in federal court in Fort Worth.

According to a news release, prosecutors said the case began on Sept. 2, 2013, when a gay man, identified as A.K., connected with Johnson via a smartphone app called MeetMe.com. Johnson’s profile page said he was not gay, but the two men chatted, and Johnson told A.K. “he was interested in engaging in sexual activity” and they arranged to meet. When A.K. arrived at Johnson’s house, Johnson “severely beat him” and put him in the trunk of A.K.’s car.

Other people warned Johnson to take A.K. to a hospital or they would call police. Johnson eventually drove A.K. to an emergency medical services facility in Springtown.

A.K. was hospitalized for 10 days for multiple skull and facial fractures, authorities said.

Johnson told federal authorities that he was playing a prank on the man because of his sexual orientation and that it was a “joke that went too far and wrong.”

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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