Ex-Marshall player pleads not guilty to attacking same-sex couple over public kiss

Steward Butler Staff Reports

Steward Butler

Steward Butler

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A former Marshall University football player has pleaded not guilty to charges of beating a same-sex couple after seeing them kiss on a Huntington, W.Va. street.

Steward Butler, 23, of Lakeland, Fla., entered the plea on Tuesday during an arraignment in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Indictments unsealed in late May charge the former Marshall running back with two felony civil rights violations and two misdemeanor battery counts.

The charges stem from the April 5 beating of two men, moments after they kissed on a Huntington street. The complaint alleges Butler witnessed the kiss, exited a passing vehicle and proceeded to shout anti-gay slurs at the two men.

Butler then struck the face of both victims with a closed fist, the complaints charge.

Huntington Police Detective Chris Sperry, said one of the victims captured the attack on video.

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Butler was dismissed from the Marshall University team and is no longer a student. Sperry said he has also turned over evidence to the FBI for its review of any civil rights violations.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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