Mallory Owens, whose Thanksgiving attack (allegedly at the hands of her girlfriend’s brother Travis Hawkins) became a social media rallying point to decry violence against gay and lesbian youth, has been released from the hospital — but her mother feels the incident warrants more serious charges against Hawkins.
Mallory Owens, 23, was allegedly attacked by Travis Hawkins, 18, on Thursday — and the violent beating was reportedly not the first time the teen boy has lashed out at the woman for dating his sister. According to Mallory Owens’ mother, Kristi Taylor, Hawkins previously came after her daughter and physically harmed her — and Taylor wants charges upgraded from assault to attempted murder.
Speaking to a local news source, Taylor fumes:
“Oh, yes, I know they don’t approve of [Owens’ relationship with Hawkins’ sister.] This isn’t the first time he has attacked Mallory. This is the second time. The first time he attacked her with a pipe and hit her in the back of the head and on the back a few times. People stepped in to help then.”
Many in the blogosphere have also pushed for the attack on Mallory Owens to be classed as a “hate crime” and punished accordingly. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich explained that as of now, Hawkins is being charged with second-degree assault because no deadly weapon was used in the beating.
Rich also addresses the “hate crime” issue, saying:
“Courts have said a fist is not considered a deadly weapon. So, therefore, it has to be assault second-degree charges, … Some people say the motive has been a hate crime. We have not been able to confirm that at this point. But that is part of the ongoing investigation.”
Rich added that gay men and lesbians are specifically not covered by hate crime legislation in Alabama, where the attack occurred:
“A hate crime as defined by law in the State of Alabama does not cover gay and lesbian rights. So that would be a federal charge that would need to be brought against the defendant and that would be the U.S. attorney’s office.”
A lawyer for Travis Hawkins said that Mallory Owens’ side of the story has been used by LGBT groups for sympathy, and that it lacks certain exculpatory elements that do not paint the victim as totally innocent.