Main | Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tampa: Marine Beats Greek Priest With Tire Iron, Claims Gay Panic

USMC Reservist Jasen Bruce, 28, who moonlights as a beefcake model, yesterday beat a robed Greek Orthodox priest with a tire iron, claiming the man had groped him sexually and said "Alluha Akbar." The priest, who speaks little English, says he was lost and asking for directions. Later Bruce recanted his claim that the priest spoke Arabic to him and said he didn't understand him at all. The priest is 5'6" and Bruce is a giant roided-out bodybuilder.
The priest was lost in the Channel District and needed directions to Interstate 275, so he tapped a U.S. Marines reservist on the arm and, in a thick Greek accent, asked for help. That's how police say the incident began. But Lance Cpl. Jasen Bruce said the man, who was wearing a robe, sandals and a long beard, propositioned him in English and grabbed his genitals. Both versions of events end the same way – with the priest recovering from a beating with a tire iron, the Marine reservist under arrest and police investigating a possible hate crime. The Rev. Alexios Marakis, visiting from Greece, had performed a blessing of a retired Greek priest in the West Shore area before accidentally exiting I-275 into downtown Monday evening, police said. Marakis followed cars into the Seaport Channelside Apartments on Twiggs Street and got out to ask for help.

Bruce, a reservist with a West Palm Beach unit since March, had his trunk open so he could get dry cleaning out, police said. Bruce, who lives in the apartment building, was not in uniform. Bruce grabbed a tire iron from the trunk, hit Marakis four times over the head and chased him about three blocks before pinning the priest, police said. In a 911 call, Bruce made a derogatory comment about a man he said was a terrorist and was trying to rob him and had grabbed him in a sexual manner, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. When officers arrived, police say, Bruce told them he heard the man say "Allahu Akbar" – Arabic for "God is great." "That's what they say before they blow you up," Bruce said, according to police. But at a news conference today, Bruce's attorney said his client didn't understand what Marakis said. "Lance Cpl. Bruce defended himself with the full legality of the law for being sexually attacked and potentially robbed," lawyer Jeffrey Brown said.
Bruce is free on $7500 bail and faces charges of battery with a possible hate crimes enhancement. The Marine Corps will wait for the criminal investigation to conclude before taking any action of their own. Two years ago Bruce pleaded no contest to battery on a tow truck driver.

(Via - Towleroad)

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