A Thanksgiving dinner turned violent when a 23-year-old woman was brutally beaten after her girlfriend’s brother objected to her relationship with his sister.
Mallory Owens is recovering from a skull fracture and crushed bones at Alabama’s USA Medical Center. Her mother told a Mobile television station that the brother attacked her just for being gay.
On Sunday, Mobile police arrested Travis Monroe Hawkins Jr., 18, and charged him with second-degree assault. He was released on bond.
The attack occurred after dinner. Owens was knocked to the floor and Hawkins repeatedly punched her, causing internal and external injuries, according to reports. Owens will require facial reconstruction surgery.
“I didn't recognize her when I got here,” Owens’ mother Kristi Taylor told WKRG News 5. “He tried to kill her. He's lucky he didn't kill her. She's lucky to be alive.”
According to Taylor, Owens was invited over to celebrate Thanksgiving with her girlfriend’s family, which she accepted despite her mother’s reservations.
“I did not want her to go, I begged her not to go, knowing how the family felt about her," the mom said. "But she said, 'They're trying to be nice.'"
Taylor said Hawkins had attacked Owens earlier this year, hitting her in the head with a pipe wrench. At the time, Owens’ family decided not to pursue charges.
“I want him behind bars for life,” said Avery Godwin, the victim’s sister. “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 .”
Despite the family’s belief that the attack was motivated by anti-gay bigotry, Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich was hesitant to describe the assault as a hate crime.
“We are assessing her injuries, everything regarding her hospital stay. But at this time, he is charged with causing serious physical injuries to her, which is assault second degree under the laws of the State of Alabama,” Rich said on Monday.
Alabama is one of more than 20 states that lack hate crime legislation for attacks against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
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