Ex-athlete pleads guilty in attack on 2 men he saw kissing

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – A former Marshall University football player has pleaded guilty to two battery charges in an attack on two men he saw kissing.

Steward Butler entered the plea to the misdemeanors Monday in Cabell County Circuit Court. His trial was scheduled to start Tuesday.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 25. He faces up to a year in jail on each count.

Butler was accused of punching the men and shouting homophobic slurs at them in Huntington in April 2015.

In May, the West Virginia Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of felony civil rights charges against Butler. A circuit judge had ruled Butler could not be charged with a hate crime because it appeared that lawmakers intended to leave protections based on sexual orientation out of the law.

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