LAFAYETTE, La. (AP/WNCN) – An attack on a gay Louisiana teenager is now being prosecuted as a hate crime.
Police initially said they didn’t see evidence of a hate crime in the attack on Holden White, who spent days in a coma and nearly a month in the hospital.
Chance Seneca pleaded not guilty to attempted murder after allegedly choking White with a cord and slicing open his wrists.
Prosecutors added the hate crime charge last week.
Seneca’s attorney said his client would also plead not guilty to the hate crime charge.
The two teens met on Grindr, a dating app for gay, bisexual and transgender men.
The attack happened July 20, 2020.
White was in the hospital for nearly a full month, but he was determined to recover.
“You can’t let other people control your story because it’s your story,” White told KLFY-TV.
Three weeks after leaving the hospital, White returned to work, but because of his hands, he had to leave.
Seven months after the incident, Holden has just regained the full function of his right hand. His left hand is still partially numb. Last week, he started his first new job since the attack.
White has made it his mission to move on from a brutal attempt on his life and to make sure the man responsible can’t attack another gay man.
“My one goal that I would say would be to yes keep him in prison, and then number two, to let everyone know if you have a traumatic experience happen to you, it’s okay to be sad about it but you need to not stay sad the whole time. You have to move on.”
White is moving on by continuing to date on Grindr, but only in public places now.
White recently said he was confident the attack was a hate crime.
White said, “He chose to go on the app Grindr. 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. This was preplanned, and when you look at his Facebook, his profile picture is Jeffrey Dahmer, and if you know the previous history about Jeffrey Dahmer, then you can clearly understand all the reasoning on why he wanted to do what he did. So this is a hate crime to me. It will always be a hate crime to me.”
— KLFY-TV contributed to this report