The suspect "intended to dismember and keep parts of the victim's body as trophies, mementos and food."
A 21-year-old man from Louisiana allegedly inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer has been sentenced to 45 years in prison following the kidnapping and attempted murder of a gay man.
Chance Seneca will serve 42 years behind bars, receiving credit for the time he's spent incarcerated leading up to his sentencing. He previously pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping as part of a plea deal agreement.
In a release from the Department of Justice on Wednesday, Seneca was described as having a "months-long scheme to kidnap and murder gay men" -- with the court concluding he "intentionally targeted the victim and other gay men because of their gender and sexual orientation."
The main victim in the case is Holden White, who was 18 at the time of the attack. Seneca and White met on the gay dating app Grindr in 2020, before they arranged to meet in person. Per the DoJ, once Seneca drove the victim to his father's home, he pulled a gun on him, forced him into handcuffs "and then used several methods to attempt to murder him."
"Believing that H.W. was dead, Seneca then attempted to dismember him," said the DoJ.
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Speaking with The Acadiana Advocate in 2021, White said he blacked out, before waking up naked in a bathtub. "He is in the process of doing my left wrist. He was slicing it ... and it was very, very hard. It was to the point that he was basically trying to cut off my hands," he said.
"He was just staring at me with a fearful look in his face, like a 'I just did this?' look," White recalled. "I was laying in the bathtub, naked, bleeding out, the water red and cold, and I remember thinking, 'Well, this is it.' 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."
Seneca was the one who called police, while White was hospitalized and in a coma for three days.
In court this week before the sentencing, White opened up about the physical and emotional effects of the attack (via The Acadiana Advocate) -- saying his left hand and a finger on his right hand are without feeling, his skull is sensitive to weight and he suffers from anxiety and PTSD. Pushing for a life sentence for Seneca, White said he was "scared for me and for other future victims he might harm. I'm scared an 18-year-old, like I was, will have their life forever changed by a date."
Seneca also addressed White in court, reading a letter asking for forgiveness.
"I know there's nothing I can say in this letter that will change what happened, but I hope it sheds light on the person I truly am, who is a caring person and does not have a violent bone in his body," he said.
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According to the DoJ, "After his arrest, Seneca admitted that he had planned to continue murdering gay men until he was caught or killed." An earlier statement from the agency claimed Seneca also attempted to kidnap one man and successfully kidnapped another in the week before attacking White.
"Seneca acknowledged that he kidnapped and attempted to murder H.W. in order to satisfy a compulsive murder-fantasy. Seneca had become fixated with the idea of killing gay men, and this fascination led him to spend months designing a murder-kidnapping scheme that mirrored the murders of gay men committed by the notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer," read the release. "Seneca intentionally targeted gay men, as Dahmer had done. Seneca had also intended to eat and preserve the bodies of his victims, as Dahmer had done."
In court, FBI Special Agent Daniel English reportedly testified Seneca had a fascination with Dahmer and even named a rabbit of his after him. English claimed Seneca believed Dahmer "wasn't a bad guy" and even referenced some of the serial killer's interviews for dismemberment and preservation advice. White also previously claimed a Facebook page associated with Seneca used a photo of Dahmer as the profile picture.
According to an earlier DoJ release, Seneca "intended to dismember and keep parts of the victim's body as trophies, mementos and food," like Dahmer.
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"The facts of this case are truly shocking, and the defendant's decision to specifically target gay men is a disturbing reminder of the unique prejudices and dangers facing the LGBTQ+ community today," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in a statement. "The internet should be accessible and safe for all Americans, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. We will continue to identify and intercept the predators who weaponize online platforms to target LGBTQ+ victims and carry out acts of violence and hate."
"No one should ever be subjected to the type of horrendous actions that this defendant inflicted upon the victim in this case,” added U.S. Attorney Brandon B. Brown for the Western District of Louisiana. "The victim never thought that he would find himself falling prey to a predator in such a way. Hate crimes such as this are a top priority for the Department and this office, and we take these kind of cases very seriously. It is important that we all remain vigilant and cautious as we use the internet in our everyday lives to avoid situations that may lead to destructive behavior of others towards us."
While this was the federal sentencing, Seneca still faces an attempted second-degree murder charge in state court in connection to the case.