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MOBILE, Ala. -- An Alabama man has been charged with second-degree assault for brutally beating a woman because she is in a relationship with his sister and he does not approve.
Travis Hawkins Jr., 18, was booked into Mobile, Ala., jail on Sunday after turning himself in to authorities for the Thanksgiving Day assault on 23-year-old Mallory Owens. Hawkins bonded out the same day.
Owens, who suffered multiple skull fractures and crushed bones, said says she was beat on Thanksgiving while at her girlfriend's family's house for dinner. Avery Godwin, Owens's sister, said Owens was blindsided just before she left the Mobile home of the Hawkins family, reported AL.com.
Now, Owens' family members and supporter are seeking justice, and said charges should be upgraded to attempted murder.
Owens' family is calling the assault a hate crime and said they cannot believe that Hawkins is walking free, reported WKRG-TV.
Owens is recovering from her injuries at USA Medical Center in Mobile -- her face was badly beaten, her nose was broken, and she had to have reconstructive surgery on her face.
Godwin said she has heard from Hawkins only once since the attack, when she said he called and threatened her. The threats included a promise "that he would finish what he started last night (the night after the attack) with Mallory."
Travis Hawkins Sr., the suspect's father, said the family has hired an attorney.
HRC statement on Mallory Owens beating
HRC President Chad Griffin released the following statement regarding the beating of Mallory Owens, an Alabama lesbian who was violently attacked by her girlfriend’s brother on Thanksgiving:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mallory Owens and her family as she recovers from the horrific injuries she sustained on Thanksgiving Day. Violence against anyone – no matter what the motivation – is never acceptable. We call on both Alabama and federal law enforcement officials to thoroughly and swiftly investigate this crime to ensure Mallory’s attacker is brought to justice.”
Living openly as an LGBT person in America takes a tremendous amount of courage, and moments like this remind us of the obligation we have to continue creating safer environments – particularly for vulnerable LGBT youth. No one who is brave enough to be open and honest in their local community should ever fear for their well-being or personal safety.”
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.
To read the original story or to visit LGBTQ Nation, a content partner with SDGLN, click HERE.
To read the full story by WKRG-TV, click HERE.
To sign the Change.org petition, click HERE.