Metro Weekly

North Carolina man charged in Key West hate crime

Brandon Ray Davis, of Richlands, N.C., is reportedly fighting his extradition to Key West

Brandon Ray Davis – Photo: Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

A North Carolina man has been arrested and released on bail as he faces charges related to a suspected anti-gay hate crime that took place in Key West last month.

The gay couple who were victims in the attack and witnesses identified the unknown assailant through a photo lineup. He was later identified as Brandon Ray Davis, 30, of Richlands, N.C., according to the Florida Keys Keynoter.

Davis was taken into custody this week by the Onslow County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office on an “extraditable warrant” for felony aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and is expected to be charged with bias enhancements. That means, if he is found guilty, he will face additional penalties because he singled out the victims because of their sexual orientation.

Davis was later released on $10,000 bond and told an Onslow County judge he will be fighting his extradition to Florida. His next court date is scheduled for Mar. 30 in Onslow County.

Assistant Monroe County (Fla.) State Attorney Colleen Dunne told the Keynoter she does not expect his attempt to be successful. In order to challenge his extradition, Davis must prove one of three things: that the information on the arrest warrant is wrong, prove he did not commit the crime, or that he was not in Florida when the crime occurred.

According to police who responded to the crime scene, Kevin Seymour and Kevin Price, a gay couple, were riding on bikes down a Key West street when they saw a man who appeared intoxicated on a rented scooter, which was swerving as he rode it. Seymour yelled at the rider than he almost hit a car, when the man retaliated by yelling, “You guys are a couple of fags.”

The man, since identified as Davis, is accused of using his scooter as a weapon to chase down the couple while yelling homophobic slurs at them. When Seymour threatened to call the police, Davis allegedly said, “If you do that, I’ll cut you up.” At one point, he plowed into Seymour’s bike tire, causing the bike to fall. 

Davis reportedly told the couple: “I bet you faggots voted for that bitch Hillary,” before telling them: “You live in Trump country now.”

Key West police say they identified Davis through the scooter rental agency, where he left a copy of his driver’s license. They then worked with North Carolina authorities to obtain a photo of him and use it for the lineup, through which the victims and witnesses were able to identify him.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com