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A gay man in Warren County said he was the victim of a hate crime. His 19th century home has been vandalized twice over the last two months.
The damage included homophobic slurs spray painted on the man’s property.
Three teenagers appeared in court Wednesday on vandalism charges, but they said they were not responsible for the graffiti.
Neal Anthony is afraid. He and his friends have pictures of the vandalism that they said show Anthony as the victim of hate crimes.
"Outside on this house that we got the siding up yesterday, it said, "All gays go to hell," Anthony said. "I think it’s a hate crime. I sure do."
Anthony said the incident happened a couple of weekends ago late at night. The vandals threw rocks through windows.
It was the second attack in two months. In March, vandals shot paint balls at his home, and police arrested three teenagers.
"One of the juveniles did apologize for what happened and he was man enough to say he was guilty so I can respect him for that," Anthony’s friend Debra Fults said.
While police have solved the paint ball attack, the other case of graffiti and vandalism remained unsolved.
Anthony said reading the graffiti hurt, but that’s not what bothered him most.
"This other language is wrong, but that statement right there affects me most about my mother," Anthony said.
Anthony said he was forced to put his mother in a rest home last year.
"He don’t deserve this. And the slur against his mother…that’s lower than dirt," Anthony’s friend Bobbie Blaylock said.
Whatever happened, Anthony rested assured knowing his friends stood behind him.
"If this goes unpunished or just a slap on the wrist the next time somebody could throw a rock and hit me in the head or possibly shoot a gun," Anthony said.
Two of the three teens who appeared in court for the paintball incident admitted they were involved.
The other pleaded not guilty.
No one has been arrested for the graffiti or vandalism.
Tennessee’s hate crime law allows the judge to lengthen the penalty for a crime.
The judge can add extra time if he or she thinks the victim was targeted because of his or her sexual orientation.