An update to the brutal weekend gay-bashing in Savannah allegedly at the hands of two Marines. Cpl. Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Lance Cpl. Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23, claim the 26-year-old gay man made "unwanted verbal advances" and say they felt "threatened." The two have been restricted to MCAS Beaufort in nearby South Carolina during the investigation.
Georgia LGBT activists are outraged the soldiers are not facing felonies after beating the 26-year-old gay man unconscious, reports GA Voice.
"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."
Georgia is only one of five states without a hate crimes law. The Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Atlanta is exploring the possibility of charging the Marines under the new federal hate crime statute, reports the Marine Corps Times.
"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. ... A spokesman for Marine Air Corps Station Beaufort 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.'"
The "simple fight" of two Marines against one civilian lead to Kieran Daly suffering bruising to the brain and two seizures immediately after the attack. Daly remains hospitalized and denies coming onto the soldiers. "I was just standing here eating my pizza," said Daly. "The only thing I said to him, it was in a really relaxed tone was, 'No. I'm not winking at you.'"