FBI Explores Hate Crime Charges in Marine Beating of Gay Man
Cpl. Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Lance Cpl. Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23, the Marines who beat a 26-year-old gay man unconscious in the streets of Savannah, Georgia over the weekend because, witnesses said, the soldiers thought he winked at them, are being restricted to their base.
Georgia LGBT groups are furious that the current charges against them stand as a misdemeanor and not felony:
"The two Marines arrested and charged in the beating over the weekend face misdemeanor charges. 'I’m very concerned this happened in the first place. But these misdemeanor charges are outrageous,' [Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff] Graham added. 'And then to turn [the Marines] over to the military police is a miscarriage of justice.' A vigil for the victim, 26-year-old Kieran Daly, is being planned for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Johnson Square in Savannah, said Kevin Clark, board member for Georgia Equality in Savannah."
An FBI investigation is underway.
"FBI spokesman Steve Emmett in Atlanta said Monday the agency and federal prosecutors were looking into whether the weekend attack on 26-year-old Kieran Daly meets requirements for hate crime charges by the Justice Department. He declined to comment further. Savannah-Chatham County police found Daly unconscious on a downtown street corner after 3 a.m. Saturday. The two Marines, stopped after an officer saw them running, were arrested on misdemeanor battery charges. A spokesman for Marine Air Corps Station Beaufort, where the suspects are stationed nearby in South Carolina, said the two Marines have received death threats online from people angered by the case. He urged people not to jump to conclusions. 'There are two sides to every story and right now the only side getting told is the alleged victim’s,' said Gunnery Sgt. Chad McMeen. 'People have looked them up on Facebook and they’re now giving them death threats, for what may have been a simple bar fight.'"