Crime

June 20, 2014

Springtown man pleads guilty to kidnapping gay man

Brice Johnson, 19, admitted to a federal judge that he lured the man to his house, beat him and stuffed him into the trunk of his car, the U.S. attorney’s office reported Friday.

A Springtown man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to a kidnapping charge in the abduction and beating of a young gay man in September.

Brice Johnson, 19, was indicted in February on a federal hate crime charge. It could not be learned Friday whether that charge is still in force.

In his plea, Johnson admitted that on Sept. 2, he used a cellphone application to lure a man to the house where he was living, saying he was interested in having sex, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

The man, who also lives in Springtown, is referred to as A.K. in court records.

A.K. arrived about 5:30 a.m. He told investigators that Johnson came out of the house, immediately attacked him, tied him up with electrical cord, stuffed him into the trunk of his car and drove the car to another friend’s house.

People at that house warned Johnson that they would call the police if Johnson did not take A.K. to a hospital, the release said. A.K. was in the trunk for at least 30 minutes, going in and out of consciousness and calling for help, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Johnson took A.K. to the Emergency Medical Services station in Springtown, where medical personnel determined that he had multiple skull and facial fractures. A.K. was hospitalized in Fort Worth for 10 days, the release said.

Springtown police were called to the medical facility, and an officer drove Johnson home and questioned him. Johnson was arrested Sept. 10 and initially faced a state charge of aggravated assault.

While Johnson was in the Parker County Jail, his conversations with family members were recorded. He told them that he invited A.K. over “because he was a fag or whatever,” according to the complaint. Investigators also reported that Johnson saved A.K.’s telephone number under a contact name that is a gay slur.

Federal authorities took custody of Johnson in February after the hate crime indictment was returned.

During the hearing Friday before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, “Johnson admitted that he held and confined the victim against his will in order to conceal the violent assault and to remove A.K’s severely injured body from the home where Johnson was a long-term houseguest,” the news release said.

Sentencing was set for Nov. 17. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

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