Lance Corporal Christopher Stanzel and Corporal Keil Cronauer, the two Marines accused of gay bashing Kieran Daly outside a pizza joint in Savannah in June, won’t be facing any felony counts. Which means no hate crime charges for these two.
The pair will face only misdemeanor charges for punching Daly, says the Chatham County District Attorney’s office. How come? Because according to DA spokeswoman Alicia Johnson, “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. 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.”
On what earth bruising to the brain and causing Daly seizures is considered “only a punch” I will never know. And how the DA can ignore the lead up to the attack — the Marines blasting Daly after finding out he’s gay — only they can tell you. It’s also unclear how involved the FBI became in using the federal Matthew Shepard Act to bring charges, but their hands might be tied: Without felony charges, there’s no way to include the upgrade.
If convicted of the lesser offense, Stanzel and Cronauer face less than a year in jail and bruising fines of up to $1,200.