Bat Beating

Police say baseball-bat beating was hate crime

A northern Kentucky man is facing felony charges for first-degree assault after allegedly beating a man with an aluminum baseball bat outside a Newport bar.

Thirty-eight-year-old Steven Ard has been jailed on five-thousand dollars bond since 19-year-old Matthew Ashcraft was beaten June 26th. During an appearance yesterday in Campbell County District Court, he waived a preliminary hearing in favor of a grand jury considering the charges.

Judge Karen Thomas raised bond to 20-thousand dollars at the request of prosecutors. Police officer Greg Ripberger told her he considered the assault a hate crime.

Ashcraft had tried to help Leon Hughes outside a bar with gay customers after Ard allegedly shouted slurs at Hughes. Ard told police he was acting in self-defense.

Ashcraft had a fractured skull, a blood clot, cranial bleeding and hearing damage.