A Louisiana man pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of kidnapping after he kidnapped and attempted to murder a gay man that he met through Grindr.
Chance Seneca, 21, of Lafayette, La., admitted that on June 20, 2020, he used Grindr to meet up with a gay man, identified only as H.W., the Department of Justice announced.
In the plea agreement, Seneca said that he had used the dating and hookup app to arrange a meeting with H.W. He me with the victim and then drove him to a house. It was then that Seneca pulled out a gun and handcuffed the victim.
Once the handcuffs were on the victim, Seneca attempted to murder and dismember H.W., according to the agreement. The DOJ said Seneca admitted that murdering and dismembering the victim was his goal in order to satisfy "his homicidal urges, and that he had planned to continue murdering until he was caught or killed."
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division called the case "shocking."
"The internet should be accessible and safe for all Americans, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The Justice Department will continue to identify and hold accountable anyone who uses online spaces as a means to terrorize or abuse others," Clarke said.
Seneca faces life in prison. Sentencing will be affected, the DOJ said, if the court finds that the victim's sexual orientation factored into the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
"The facts surrounding the events that took place in this case are very disturbing," said U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown for the Western District of Louisiana. "It is nothing short of miraculous that the victims who endured the vicious attacks from this defendant survived. We will continue to fight to seek justice for victims who suffer at the hands of defendants such as this."
While not identified in the DOJ announcement, Holden White previously came forward as Seneca's victim.
White said Seneca had attacked him and left him almost for dead before calling the police.
In the attack, White, who was only 18 at the time, was choked before his wrists and neck were cut and he was left bleeding in a bathtub. He recalls Seneca pulling out a cord early in the date and choking him until he blacked out.
"When I wake up, I am in his bathtub naked. The water is running, and it's cold," White told The Advocate, a Louisiana newspaper unaffiliated with the LGBTQ+ publication, last year. "He is in the process of doing my left wrist. It was to the point that he was basically trying to cut off my hands."
After slashing both White's wrists and neck, Seneca left White lying in the bathtub bleeding as he stood over him, according to the victim and prosecutors. "I was laying in the bathtub, naked, bleeding out, the water red and cold, and I remember thinking, 'Well, this is it,'" White recalled. "The last words I said to myself were just 'stay calm,' over and over and over in my head I was just repeating to myself to stay calm."
White said he felt targeted by the attack because he is a gay man. "He chose to go on the app Grindr," White told KATC, a local ABC and CW affiliate. "He went on an app designated for gay people. He chose to choose someone who is gay and very proud of his sexuality. He said this in prison. He said he chose me because I have a smaller stature and it would be easier to kill me. He knew what he was doing."
Seneca will be sentenced on January 25, 2023.