Some want stronger hate crime laws after beating of gay Mobile r - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Some want stronger hate crime laws after beating of gay Mobile resident

Posted: Updated:
Mallory Owens remains in the hospital after allegedly being beaten by her girlfriend's brother, Travis Hawkins. Source: WBRC video Mallory Owens remains in the hospital after allegedly being beaten by her girlfriend's brother, Travis Hawkins. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The brutal beating of a 23-year-old Mobile woman is again raising questions of expanding Alabama's Hate Crime law.

Mallory Owens was beaten Thanksgiving day by the brother of her girlfriend. Owens remains at South Alabama Medical Center.

"It's hard to look at her like that," Kristi Taylor, Owens' mother said.

Eighteen-year-old Travis Hawkins is charged with second degree assault. Hawkins reportedly disapproved of his sister's relationship with Owens. Taylor believes her daughter was beaten because she is gay.

"I didn't want her to go. I begged her not to go. Knowing how the family felt about her but she said the family was trying to be nice," Taylor said.

"He didn't need to be out. He could do this to someone else or he will finish off my sister. He doesn't deserve to be out," Avery Godwin, Owens' sister said.

News of the attack upset Birmingham Rep. Juandalynn Givan.

"Not this day and time. Not here in the state of Alabama," Givan said.

Alabama's Hate Crime Law includes protection of race, religion and national origin but not sexual preference.

"I definitely think something needs to be done in this state to strengthen these types of laws because people of the mentality 'it doesn't happen in our neighborhood, in my state or my state,'" Givan said.

Homewood Rep. Paul DeMarco, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, does not believe the legislature will address the issue.

"I think based on what we are hearing from prosecutors is they have the tools in the box to prosecute those who assault anybody across the board," DeMarco said.

Owens' family says the assault charge is not strong enough and believe Hawkins should be charged with attempted murder. Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich says they are still investigating the case but says the charges appear to be appropriate.

Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow