An update to the two Marines charged with battery after beating a gay man so viciously that he was left unconscious on the street in Savannah, Georgia. Cpl. Keil Joseph Cronauer, 22, and Lance Cpl. Christopher Charles Stanzel, 23, claim the 26-year-old gay man "winked at them" and they felt "threatened." The two Iraq War vets will not face federal hate crime charges, the GA Voice reports.
Alicia Johnson, spokesperson for the Chatham County DA’s office, which includes Savannah, said the two Marines will only face misdemeanor charges for allegedly punching [Kieran] Daly. The decision was made weeks ago, she added. The two Marines will appear before a judge in state court on Sept. 9. The judge is expected to hear the case and render a verdict, Johnson said. The case has already been postponed twice.
After the alleged attack on June 12, LGBT activists in Savannah and Atlanta called for the FBI to investigate the incident under the federal hate crimes law. Johnson said after the FBI, the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department and the DA’s office reviewed Daly's medical records and conducted further investigation, they determined this case had “no merit” to be considered a hate crime. "I can’t speak on the specifics because this is pending litigation, but for a crime to be considered a felony [which a hate crime is considered to be] there has to be proof of a sustained injury," Johnson said. "It’s my understanding Daly suffered only a punch. Based on his medical records we could not upgrade the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony."
The vicious assault of two combat-trained Marines against one civilian—described as "only a punch" by prosecutors—lead to Kieran Daly suffering bruising to the brain and two seizures. Daly remained hospitalized for a week and denied 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.'"
Georgia is only one of five states without a hate crimes law, which is why the Federal Bureau of Investigation was asked to determine if the Marines could be charged under the new federal hate crime statute. If convicted of a misdemeanor, Cronauer and Stanzel could face less than a year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,200.
If these Iraq War vets were "threatened" by a gay man allegedly "winking" at them over a slice of pizza, it's amazing they were able to patrol the streets of Baghdad.