6 months in jail for ex-athlete in attack on kissing men

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – A former Marshall University football player has been sentenced to six months in jail in an attack on two men he saw kissing.

Steward Butler was accused of punching the men and shouting homophobic slurs after seeing them kissing outdoors in Huntington in April 2015. Butler apologized Monday before he was sentenced on two counts of battery.

In May, the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of felony civil rights charges against Butler. Circuit Judge Paul Farrell ruled last year that Butler could not be charged with a hate crime because it appeared that state lawmakers intended to leave protections based on sexual orientation out of the law.

Butler was a running back at Marshall from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, he ran for 798 yards and seven touchdowns.

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