LONG BEACH — An ex-Marine who pleaded not guilty last week to allegedly assaulting two men in September at a popular Long Beach gay bar made an appearance in court Thursday.
John Kelly O'Leary, 21, has been charged in Long Beach Superior Court with one felony count each of battery with serious bodily injury and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. The criminal complaint also says the attack was a hate crime.
O'Leary will return to court May 29 for a preliminary hearing conference, which will determine his hearing date. At O'Leary's hearing, the judge will decide if prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed with the counts against him.
If convicted, O'Leary could face eight years in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Ford, who is assigned to the Hate Crimes Unit.
O'Leary remains jailed on $105,000 bail.
The former Marine allegedly went to the Silver Fox on Redondo Avenue near Fourth Street with three other Marines in the early morning hours of Sept. 3.
At closing time, O'Leary allegedly went outside the bar and stood in the street yelling. Someone from the bar came outside and attempted to move him out of the street, but to no avail. When that person went back into the bar, the first victim tried to convince O'Leary to step out of the street, too, but O'Leary allegedly shouted anti-gay slurs at the man and hit him in the face, knocking him unconscious.
As the first victim was being attacked, a second person tried to help him, but O'Leary began punching and choking him. At the same time, the three other Marines tried to break up the fight before police arrived, she said.
O'Leary was dishonorably discharged from the Marines on Oct. 19. The three other Marines are still in the service, a U.S. Marine spokesman said.
Since the three other Marines were trying to break up the fight, they were not charged, Robison said.
Phillip Zonkel can be reached at 562-714-2098