Gay Men Attacked At Knife-Point In Key West Hate Crime

Christopher Yarema and Stephanie Burnham (mugshots via Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

Two gay men from West Hollywood, California, were vacationing in Key West, Florida, when they became the victims of a hate crime.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the two men had rented a large boat and dinghy in order to spend the day on Wisteria Island, a small federally-owned uninhabited island located several hundred yards off of Key West.

After spending the day on the island, the two men were preparing to leave when a couple, identified as Christopher Thomas John Yarema and Stephanie Lynn Burnham, approached shouting obscenities.

According to the police report, one gay men was wearing a Speedo-style swimsuit and it upset the couple.

One of the attackers yelled, “Hey, Mr. Speedo [expletive], get the [expletive] off our island.”

That was followed by Burnham shouting, “You have five seconds to get off, or I will kill you.”

Yarema then reportedly punched one of the men and broke his sunglasses. Burnham then slammed the same man with an oar.

When the man pushed her away in an attempt to defend himself, Yarema pulled out a knife and began slashing at the men yelling, “You knocked down my wife, I’m going to kill you!”

At one point, Yarema punctured the men’s dingy, but they were able to escape to their larger rental boat before it had completely deflated.

Once back onboard, the men were able to radio the U.S. Coast Guard for help.

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Yarema, a fisherman and roofer, has been charged with aggravated assault and causing property damage.

And Burnham, described as a Key West laborer, is charged with battery and causing property damage.

The boat rental company told the police the damage to the dinghy is estimated at between $2000 and $5000. The sunglasses that were broken in the scuffle were apparently worth about $800.

Key West: No Jail Time For “You’re In Trump Country” Gay-Basher

Brandon Ray Davis

There will be no jail time for a North Carolina man who admitted to chasing and assaulting two gay men during a late night February incident in Key West, Florida.

Unbelievable. And people wonder why LGBTs protest.

From the Miami Herald:

Brandon Ray Davis, 30, admitted calling Kevin Paul Taylor and Kevin Seymour “faggots,” and yelling, “You’re in Trump country now!” on Feb. 23 on Duval Street in Key West and smashing his scooter into Seymour’s back bike tire.

“I landed on my feet, that was the luck of it,” Seymour said Wednesday, after the hearing in which Davis received four years probation, 75 hours of community service and was banned from tasting alcohol for two years.

Judge Wayne Miller said the injuries suffered — a flattened bicycle tire and a chain knocked off — weren’t enough to warrant a day in jail after Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne asked for 60 days behind bars.

Originally arrested for felony aggravated battery, Davis was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge Wednesday at the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West.

Taylor and Seymour watched Wednesday as Davis called his fiancée and two family friends to the front of the court to testify that whatever he did at about 1 a.m. Feb. 23 in Key West was completely out of character. Davis also has an openly gay friend, a professional his attorney noted, who wrote one of 30 letters of support.

Then Davis turned toward the two men he threatened in a drunken stupor four months ago, walked toward them from the court’s center and offered to embrace them.

“My heart goes out to you guys, every bit of it,” Davis said to Taylor and Seymour, who were seated in the front row behind the prosecutor’s table. “I’m asking you to come put your arms around me, take my hand.”

The two men were silent.

Davis followed the men for five blocks, taunting them and at one point promising, “If you call the cops I will cut that faggot body up,” and claiming he was a correctional officer.

North Carolina Man Arrested In Connection To Hate Crime In Key West

Kevin Seymour and Kevin Price

According to the Miami Herald, police have identified and arrested a North Carolina man accused of a homophobic hate crime in Key West, Florida.

The Key West Police Department said Brandon Ray Davis, 30, was taken into custody by the Onslow County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office on an “extraditable warrant” for felony aggravated battery stemming from the Feb. 23 incident. Davis lives in Richlands, N.C.

He is accused of using a deadly weapon — his scooter — to nearly run down two men on bicycles while deluging them with homophobic comments. Since it’s classified as a hate crime, if Davis is convicted, he could face enhanced penalties.

Kevin Seymour and Kevin Price told police that about 1 a.m. on Feb. 23, they were riding bicycles in the 700 block of Duval when they saw a man swerving on a rented scooter. Seymour says he shouted to warn the scooter rider, identified by police as Davis, that he almost hit a car. Davis yelled, “You guys are a couple of fags,” “I bet you faggots voted for that bitch Hillary” and “You live in Trump country now,” police say.

When Seymour threatened to call police, Davis allegedly told him, “If you do that, I’ll cut you up.”

At one point, the scooter rider struck the rear tire of Seymour’s bike, knocking him to the ground. Seymour and Price got the scooter tag number before he fled. The scooter was rented from A and M Rentals. It was found parked near the Southernmost Point.

Police say they identified Davis in part through the scooter rental agency, where Davis left a copy of his driver’s license so he could rent it. Working with North Carolina law enforcement, detectives obtained a photo of Davis. In a photo lineup, Seymour, Price and another witness said it was Davis in the photo, police said.

You have to admit Davis sounds like an idiot. Did he really think he couldn’t be tracked down when he was on a RENTED scooter?

He deserves to have the book thrown at him.

Key West: Gay Couple Allegedly Threatened By Trump Supporter “You Live In Trump County Now!”

A gay couple was the victim of a hate crime in uber-gay Key West, Florida, last Thursday.

From FL Keys News:

Kevin Seymour, 38, and Kevin Paul Taylor, 49, said it was a drunken tourist who followed them as they rode south on Duval Street “calling us faggots and a slew of other anti-gay remarks,” according to a police report.

At one point, the scooter rider struck the rear tire of Seymour’s bike, knocking him to the ground.

“We were victims of a hate crime last night biking home from dinner,” Kevin Paul Taylor posted on his Facebook page. “He kept stopping in front of us and swerving into us. Finally Kevin got ahead of him and the guy charges him with his scooter and runs into him and knocks him off his bike. Kevin is okay.”

“I bet you faggots voted for that bitch Hillary,” the suspect said to the couple. “Well, you live in Trump country now.”

A witness gave a statement to police backing the couple’s story and officers said there may be security video available from nearby businesses.

Police described the scooter rider as a white man in his mid- to late 30s with “a southern accent” wearing gray shorts and a blue polo shirt. His moped was a black Eclipse rented from A and M Rentals with the license plate MCUT33, police said. It was found parked outside the Southernmost, 508 South St.

As the scooter followed the couple, Seymour told the man he would call 911. “If you do that, I’ll cut you up,” the man replied, according to reports.

Florida: Key West Marriage Equality Plaintiffs File For Marriage License

Court clerks around Florida began Friday to announce plans to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples next week following a federal judge’s New Year’s Day ruling that they have a legal obligation to do so.

Aaron and Lee, plaintiffs in the Key West/Monroe County case, began the landslide of five consecutive wins for marriage equality in Florida.

Same-sex marriage will be legal at the stroke of midnight this coming Tuesday.


Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Honored As Grand Marshals In Key West Fantasy Fest Parade

This year’s parade grand marshals for the Fantasy Fest Parade, Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, won a landmark court ruling overturning Florida’s statewide same-sex marriage ban for Florida Keys residents. A subsequent appeal by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi means they still can’t marry, but their parade float proclaimed their desire to tie the knot.

“Our float was designed for us. It’s a wedding cake with the rainbow over top of it symbolizing the marriage equality that we’re aiming for,” said Jones, who rode atop the float with Huntsman while 33 other couples in wedding attire marched beside it.

“I hope that our appearance as grand marshals of Fantasy Fest will show the rest of the state, and our state attorney general and our governor, that we’re all one human family and that we need equality now,” said Huntsman. “And no more wasting taxpayers’ money. Let’s get it done.”

More than 50,000 spectators, some dressed in flamboyant costumes lined Key West’s downtown streets for the procession of more than 40 motorized floats and costumed marching groups.

(via press release)