Instead of facing ten years in prison, Marshall University running back Steward Butler may only get up to two years following his recent alleged attack on a gay couple.
Butler allegedly attacked the men after seeing them kiss on a Huntington street, according to EDGE Media Network.
However, Butler will not be put on trial. According to The Intelligencer, Cabell County Circuit Court Judge Paul Farrell claimed that sexual orientation is not protected under West Virginia state law and ruled to drop the hate crime charges.
The prosecutor has 60 days to appeal the case.
West Virginia is one of 20 states that do not have hate crime laws that cover sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
"I don't know whether there's really been an incident to highlight it until now," Cabell County Prosecutor Sean Hammers told The Intelligencer. "We now have an incident where two men were battered and their rights were violated, and I think that even if we don't win at the Supreme Court, we definitely put the spotlight on the statute that says, 'hey, it should be interpreted to cover sexual orientation.'"
Butler was kicked off the team following the attack.