Two gay men on vacation in Key West, Fla,, say they were assaulted by a straight couple who went after them for wearing Speedos. The suspects face charges of battery and causing property damage.
The two men, tourists from Los Angeles, were leaving a boat they'd rented when Christopher Thomas John Yarema, 43, and Stephanie Lynn Burnham, 35, hurled gay slurs related to their choice in swimwear, reports TV station WPLG.
“Hey, Mr. Speedo faggot, get the fuck off our island,” one of them shouted as they approached the gay men's boat, according to a police report.
"You have five seconds to get off, or I will kill you," Burnham reportedly threatened the men, then slammed one of them on the head with his boat oar. Yarema also allegedly punched the tourist in the face, destroying his sunglasses. When the victim shoved Burnham away in self defense, Yarema made an attempt on his life.
“You knocked down my wife. I’m going to kill you,” Yarema said, pulling out a four-inch knife and stabbing it at the tourists. Deputies report that although he did not manage to slash them, he slashed their inflatable boat.
In their leaking dinghy, the victims returned to a larger boat, where they called the Coast Guard.
According to the rental company, the couple caused up to $5,000 of damage to the boat. The sunglasses the victims claim Yarema broke are worth $800.
Burnham and Yarema are in custody in Florida. They both face charges of causing property damage; Burnham is charged with battery and Yarema is charged with aggravated assault. It's unknown if authorities will seek a hate-crime penalty.