Alabama 18-Year-Old Arrested in Brutal Beating of Sister’s Girlfriend
BY PAUL SCHINDLER | A 23-year-old lesbian has been released from a Mobile, Alabama, hospital after a brutal beating she received on Thanksgiving Day allegedly at the hands of her girlfriend’s 18-year-old brother.
Mallory Owens’ face was beaten so badly she had to undergo reconstructive surgery to place metal plates in her cheekbones, WKRG.com reports. She left the University of South Alabama Medical Center on November 26.
Owens’ mother, Kristi Taylor, told the CBS affiliate that the attack was motivated by Travis Hawkins, Jr.’s homophobia and occurred in the Hawkins home.
“She was invited over by the family to eat Thanksgiving,” Taylor told WKRG.com. “I did not want her to go, I begged her not to go, knowing how the family felt about her. But she said, ‘They’re trying to be nice.'”
Owens’ family said Hawkins had attacked her earlier this year with a pipe wrench, but that no charges were pursued.
Owens’ sister, Avery Godwin, said she wanted “him behind bars for life. He doesn’t need to be out, because if he does he could do this to someone else or he’ll finish it off with my sister.”
Hawkins was arrested on November 25 and charged with second-degree assault and released shortly after that on bond. Owens’ family is demanding that the charges be upgraded to attempted murder.
Ashley Rich, Mobile’s district attorney, said, “We’re on top of this,” but stated there was no immediate basis for pursuing a hate crime charge.
“He is charged with causing serious physical injuries to her, which is assault second-degree under the laws of the State of Alabama,” WKRG.com quoted Rich as saying.
In a written statement issued on November 27, Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “HRC has reached out to the Department of Justice and the FBI to urge them to investigate the incident and provide any needed assistance to local law enforcement. Alabama has no hate crime protections that cover sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Rich acknowledged that a hate crime prosecution based on an anti-gay motive could only take place under federal law.
According to the news outlet, early last year Rich sought to prosecute Hawkins’ father, Travis Sr., on charges of shooting his son. Travis Jr., however, declined to testify against his father.
Owens has no health insurance but a fund to provide support for her care has been established at Regions Bank. Karen Ocamb, who writes the LGBT POV blog at Los Angeles’ Frontiers, an LGBT magazine, quotes Evelyn Mitchell of the Regions corporate communications office as saying that those wishing to help can call 1-800-REGIONS for information about making donations.