2 Separate Bashings In Florida. Same Suspects


For now, the attacks against Florida men David Villanova Jr., 27, and Craig Cohen, 47, are being treated by police as robberies. But they’re leaving open the option of a hate crime. The two men were attacked in separate incidents, but one after the other on the same night this week. Cohen remains hospitalized, having woke from a coma.

According to [Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dani] Moschella, Cohen was walking in the 800 block of East Oakland Park Boulevard, near the Peter Pan Diner, when he was beaten and robbed. A passerby found him on the ground and called 911 about 1:20 a.m., she said.

On Wednesday, friends gathered at the hospital to show support for Cohen, a Broward School District employee since 1982. ”The doctors said we need to wait 48 hours, but 48 hours are over and his condition has not improved,” said longtime friend Hector Varas. “But I believe in miracles.” Varas said Cohen is a regular customer at the Peter Pan Diner, where investigators believe he ate a meal shortly before he was attacked.

Detectives remain unsure as to the specifics in Villanova’s attack, though they believe he was robbed some time after Cohen. He initially told investigators that he was attacked in the 1500 block of Northeast Fourth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale near a 7-Eleven store, said Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman Detective Kathy Collins. hHowever, his story has changed somewhat, and Fort Lauderdale detectives believe he was actually attacked outside their jurisdiction. Moschella said BSO investigators are now handling Villanova’s beating as if it happened in their jurisdiction. [Miami Herald]

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  • GayIsTheWay

    Typical. Haterosexual police always label an anti-gay hate crime a robbery even if nothing was taken.

  • Alec

    @GayIsTheWay: Uh police officers, who enjoy attributing motive (which isn’t necessary for trial purposes). But um, if a prosecutor feels like s/he can get a hate crimes enhancement, they’ll go for it. And he wouldn’t charge robbery or theft unless the elements were there, or at least arguably there.


    Listen dickheads… Two gay men have been beaten and, yes robbed of at least wallets and cellphones, and the info, camera evidence and a witness, have suggested to police/sheriffs that a connection of these crimes is possible. Even if there is no connection, they are crimes none-the-less at locations that are common to gay men. There isn’t much at this point to specifically suggest or confirm that these are hate crimes. They may just be 3am robberies. What is of concern, is that the victims were mugged, and that they were mugged in locations that are considered relatively safe; one near an all night diner and the other near a gay bar & high school.
    The police have moved agressively to solve these cases and have communicated with local television (at least 2 local stations picked this up), major metro print media, and South Florida Blade per today’s paper and website. [Yes, Queerty, they are stillllll publishing, much to your dismay].

  • FLDuckbill

    Craig is NOT out of his Coma. I have learned his sister wants to remove him from life support because she does not have the means to support him. I wish news reporters would get their facts straight before reporting. This is very sad. It is great that two suspects were apprehended and there are likely more to be arrested for this crime. Regardless of Straight or Gay this is a crime of hatred.

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