A Louisiana man accused of using a popular dating app in a plot to murder and dismember gay men has pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping, federal authorities said Thursday.
Police say that 21-year-old Chance Seneca, of Lafayette, kidnapped two men and attempted to kidnap another, whom he met on Grindr, over two days in June 2020 — and at least one of his victims was attacked because he was gay.
He also “intended to dismember and keep parts of the victim’s body as trophies, mementos and food,” investigators said.
Seneca, who was 19 at the time, was charged on six counts, including hate crime, kidnapping, firearm and obstruction charges.
He was indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2021 and was scheduled to stand trial on March 14, 2022, but in February U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays granted a defense request for a delay, as his lawyers worked on a plea agreement.
According to his plea agreement, Seneca admitted to using Grindr on June 20, 2020, to kidnap and attempt to murder Holden White, a Louisiana State University student.
White, who’s gay, spent nearly a month in the hospital, after he was tortured by Seneca, according to police.
In January 2021, the then-19-year-old victim told The Acadiana Advocate that the two had met on the app and that Seneca insisted on picking him up from his apartment.
As part of his plea agreement, Seneca acknowledged that he did use Grindr to set up a date with the victim, then drove him to an isolated house, took out a handgun and told him to put on handcuffs.
“Seneca then attempted to murder and dismember H.W.,” the Department of Justice said in a news release.
He also said that he intended to murder his victim “for the purpose of satisfying his homicidal urges, and that he had planned to continue murdering until he was caught or killed.”
“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,” he added.
Seneca faces life in prison but could face additional penalties if prosecutors can prove that he targeted his victims because of their sexual actual or perceived sexual orientation.
He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 25.