The beating death of a gay man in Waverly, Ohio, is being investigated as a possible hate crime, police said. Two men are being accused of aggravated murder and were arraigned on Wednesday in Pike County common pleas court, according to a report by the Chillicothe Gazette. Martin E. Baxter, 28, and Matthew W. Ferman, 22, were both arraigned on one count each of aggravated murder. Both pleaded not guilty.
The charges stem from the beating death of openly gay 39-year-old Daniel Fetty. Waverly police found Fetty beaten and naked in a trash bin behind a building around 1 a.m. on October 2. He died at a nearby hospital about 12 hours later. If convicted on the charge, Baxter and Ferman face a prison term of up to life with the possibility of parole after 20 years and a $25,000 fine. They remain in jail on a $1 million bond.
Waverly police are still pursuing several leads in the case. They said they believe the killing may have been motivated by robbery, but since Fetty was gay, authorities are looking at the murder as a possible hate crime.