A not guilty plea to US hate charges in attack on gay man

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana man pleaded not guilty Monday to federal hate crime charges alleging that he tried to kill and dismember a gay man.

The plea by Chance Seneca, 19, of Lafayette, follows his indictment last week. He had already pleaded not guilty to earlier state charges arising from what prosecutors said was an attempt to kill an 18-year-old. The victim survived being choked and severely cut June 20.

The federal indictment says Seneca planned to use the man’s body parts as “trophies and food.” A Department of Justice statement said Seneca had “an overarching scheme to kidnap and murder” gay men.

Federal authorities say the victim was one of three men Seneca is accused of abducting after contacting them through social media and dating apps.

Seneca has been transferred to federal custody, according to court records posted Monday. And, because Seneca could not afford a lawyer, the court appointed the Office of the Federal Public Defender to represent him or recommend a lawyer to represent him.

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