Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Bashing in Savannah “Not A Hate Crime”

Stanzel (l), Cronauer (r)

Savannah, GA – The Chatham County District Attorney will not charge two U.S. Marines who gay bashed a man in June with a hate crime.  EDGE reports that the Marines, Keil Cronauer, 22, and Christopher Stanzel, 23, will face misdemeanor battery charges in court on September 9.  On June 12, a gay man, Kieran Daly, was assaulted, cursed for being gay, and left in a state bad enough that his friends administered emergency CPR to jumpstart his pulse.  Cronauer accused Daly of “winking” at him, which the victim strongly denies.  Stanzel allegedly delivered the blow to the back of Daly’s head, giving him a bruise on his brain.  The blow is what the DA,  Alicia Johnson, is calling “a punch,” and she cannot bring herself to move the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony since the victim had no “sustained injuries.”  DA Johnson told the GA Voice that FBI agents had reviewed Daly’s medical records, and found “no merit” in categorizing the attack as 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. If convicted of misdemeanor battery, the Marines would face no more than a year in jail and a fine of no more than $1200.  The state of Georgia has no statute protecting its LGBT residents from hate crimes.  The key to prosecuting the Marines was always the implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that President Obama signed into law last October.  The ruling of the FBI, coupled with the familiar reluctance of local law enforcement to prosecute anti-gay violence in Savannah, seems to have put the Marines out of the reach of justice for now.  Both Marines were rushed from the Chatham County jail to the custody of military police shortly after being arrested in June.  Georgia Equality and other allies of the LGBTQ community have rallied to protest this avoidance on the part of officers of the law charged to protect the community.  As the Voice reports, numbers of LGBT activists and allies met in Johnson Square in the historic district of Savannah, Ga., back on June 20 to express their outrage over the alleged beating and to call for Georgia to pass a state hate crimes law. Now, the Executive Director of Georgia Equality Jeff Graham is calling for the Justice Department to revisit the crime, in hopes that the attack will finally be ruled a hate crime.  “I’m very concerned this happened in the first place. But these misdemeanor charges are outrageous,” Graham said. “And then to turn [the Marines] over to the military police is a miscarriage of justice.”  The LGBTQ community in Savannah is questioning at what point can an attack on a person because of perceived sexual orientation be considered a hate crime.  Does it take two blows?  A maiming?  God forbid, a murder?

September 2, 2010 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, FBI, gay men, gay panic defense, Georgia, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, U.S. Marines | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I accept the decision. Besides, the Marines’ records are clean. Kieran Daly, the “victim”, is the one with an arrest record for inciting violence before (last January). He was also dishonest about the extent of his injuries. Using this case for Hate Crime laws would make the gay community look trivial and silly.

    Comment by FaceIt | September 22, 2010

  2. If a gay man provokes and harasses anyone, gay straight or whatever, they should not be protected by any law or statute just because they are gay. This “gay bashing is a hate crime” bs is a completely unbalanced law that essentially empowers gay men to harass and be obnoxious to non gay men whom have not solicited their attention, nor would ever be inclined to do so.

    The LGBT alliance needs to understand that most of America feels this way: if you provoke a fight, and you get your ass kicked, just because you happen to be gay should not entitle you to be treated any differently under the law. Despite the petty grievance the gey instigator would certainly enjoy manipulating the courts to do for them.

    I’m glad the Marines were treated fairly. Obnoxious gay men should be cited for being a public nuisance.

    Comment by Not Required | July 13, 2013

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