FBI investigates Canyon Co. murder as hate crime

Posted at 9:32 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:33:00-04

Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue says the FBI is investigating a fatal beating in Nampa as a possible hate crime.

22-year-old Kelly B. Schneider of Nampa, 21-year-old Kevin R. Tracy of Nampa, 28-year-old Jayson C. Woods of Nampa, and 23-year-old Daniel A. Henkel of Caldwell are all facing charges of first-degree murder and robbery in the death of Steven Nelson.

FBI investigators are looking into whether or not the suspects targeted the 49-year-old because of his sexual orientation, baiting him with an online ad for a sexual encounter with another man.

Nelson died after being stripped naked, robbed and severely beaten in a remote location near Lake Lowell on April 29.

Before Nelson's passing, he was able to describe detailed information about his attack, which led investigators to the arrest of four suspects within hours.

Investigators say the men admitted to similar attacks in the past and are encouraging other victims to come forward.

"The information that's potentially out there, could assist us, the FBI and the US Attorney's Office in making that determination [for a hate crime]," Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said. "So every piece of the puzzle is important and we need it."

All four suspects are expected to appear in court on Friday, May 13th for a preliminary hearing.