Three sailors accused of beating a 54-year-old Santa Ynez man because he is gay have been charged with felony assault and battery counts, the Ventura County district attorney's office said Thursday.
Michael Breninger, 20; Kenneth Cummings, 20, and Sean McGeown, 18, are each charged with assault to commit great bodily injury and battery resulting in great bodily injury in connection with the attack on Richard Heffernan on Sunday, authorities said.
The three, who are all stationed at the Port Hueneme Naval Construction Battalion Center, also face misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief for vandalizing Heffernan's car. They were being held in Ventura County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail each, a spokesman said.
"The only motive that we've been able to determine was that this gentleman was gay, and they didn't particularly like it," Port Hueneme Police Sgt. Dennis Fitzgerald said.
Heffernan has suffered extensive damage to his face and right eye, Fitzgerald said. He is listed in fair condition at St. John's Regional Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.