HONOLULU -- A judge has ordered two young men to stand trial for allegedly dousing the tents of gay campers with a flammable liquid and setting one afire.
Eamonn Carolan, 18, and Orion Macomber, 19, were being held on $250,000 bail. They face several felony charges including first-degree attempted murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
One day before the May 26 attack, Gov. Ben Cayetano announced he would sign a hate crime bill but said he was concerned about distinguishing one category of people from another.
The measure would impose longer sentences for crimes motivated by the victim's race, religion, disability, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation. Cayetano has until July 10 to sign the bill.
Police Inspector Mel Morris said the attack at Polihale State Park on a Kauai island beach is considered a hate crime based on the "insinuations and remarks" made by the suspects at the time. The victims said they were targeted because they had gay pride flags posted at the campsite.
The suspects face attempted murder charges because people were inside the tent they tried to burn, Morris said. They also are accused of breaking into the beach campers' cars.
Kauai police said the two teen-agers were found in a pickup truck with two cans of kerosene. The campers had provided the license number of a truck they said tried to run them down at the park.
Carolan's mother, Nancy, said her son is innocent and "does not hate gay people."
"We're hoping the Kauai incident will be the straw that will ... get the bill signed," said Carolyn Golojuch, president of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
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