Hate crime charges have been added to the gruesome case of Holden White and Chance Seneca.
According to NBC News, the Lafayette Parish District Attorney’s Office gave Chance Seneca hate crime charges on January 20. The charges add an extra five-year prison sentence. This decision comes after the police’s initial hesitancy to classify the case as a hate crime.
“There were several indicators that point us to the direction that it was not a hate crime,” Sgt. Wayne Griffin of the Lafayette Police Department told The Acadiana Advocate in 2020. “Just because of the sensitivity of the case, we cannot go into any more about it.”
For victim Holden White, this additional charge is a blessing. Though, it came after months of advocating for the change.
“He chose to go on the app Grindr,” White told local news station KATC-TV. “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.”
“For them to shut it down as a lovers’ quarrel is just unbelievable,” he added. “Let’s say we did get into an argument, which we didn’t, who would go to that point over a dumb argument? To bash someone in the back of the skull with a hammer? To try and slice their hands off?”
We first reported this case back in June of 2020. We then elaborated on the case’s gruesome details earlier this month. In June, Holden White, who was then 18-years-old, met with 19-year-old Chance Seneca. Seneca drove White to his father’s house to play video games. But when White had his back turned to Seneca, he found a cord wrapped around his throat. After a fight, White blacked out.
“When I wake up, I am in his bathtub naked. The water is running, and it’s cold. He is in the process of doing my left wrist. He was slicing it like this,” Holden White told the Acadiana Advocate, while motioning horizontally across his wrist, “and it was very, very hard. It was to the point that he was basically trying to cut off my hands.”
After blacking out again, White woke up in the hospital with several other cut wounds across his body. Seneca had called the police after freaking out at what he’d done. Seneca was then arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder. Now, hate crime charges have also been added and White has received more than $100,000 in financial support from a GoFundMe campaign to help with his recovery.
“I didn’t expect to hear from people all over the world — I’ve had people from Australia text me,” he shared. “At the same time, my story was kind of swept under the rug at first. People in my home state are saying they’re just hearing about it now.”
In addition, Holden urges other victims of hate crimes to advocate for themselves and to not just rely on the justice system.
“Never give up,” he said. “If you stop trying, or you stop talking about your case, it can be swept away and just disappear.”