Home invasions occur more frequently than many people believe. However, it’s rare for defendants to also be charged with hate crimes. But this is what happened after a spate of recent home invasions that led to a North Texas hate crime investigation.
According to The Observer, a 20-year-old man from Frisco man admitted hate crime charges following home invasions targeting gay men in the northern suburbs of Dallas.
The report stated Chancler Encalade admitted he was one of three men who targeted a man from Plano in January because of his sexual orientation. Encalade faces a prison term up to life and up to $250,000 in fines if he is convicted of the North Texas hate crimes.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated Encalade and two other defendants sought out their victims on Grindr, a dating app targeted at gay men.
They claim Anthony Shelton and Nigel Garrett entered a man’s home through the front door in January 2017. Encalade struck the man with a metal bar while an accomplice brandished a firearm, court documents stated.
The Observer report stated Encalade, Shelton and Garrett beat the homosexual man and tied him up with duct tape around his wrists, eyes, and legs. Over the course of the assault, the men burglarized the victim’s house. His car was stolen. The U.S. Department of Justice claimed the three assailants repeatedly insulted and denigrated the victim’s sexual orientation.
The report said Encalade, Garrett, and Shelton pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges earlier in 2017.
The Observer noted another alleged incident in February linked to the same three men. The report said Danny Cannon, a 52-year-old man from Aubrey ended up in his neighbor’s yard . He was wearing only a jock strap after he was pistol-whipped and bound with duct tape. Cannon met three masked men, after believing he’d found a date on Grindr.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms also joined the federal investigation. The report stated the alleged robbers stole several firearms. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas later brought federal charges against Garrett, Encalade, and Shelton. It said they used the dating site Grindr as a “channel of interstate commerce” which they used to target their victims.
Assistant Attorney General John Gore said:
“The Justice Department will not tolerate hate crimes against any individual, for any reason, including sexual orientation. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”
Texas has had a hate crimes law since 2001. However, few prosecutions are brought under the statute.
If you have been charged with a hate crime, please call our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers today.