Key West Couple Attacks Gay Tourists, Police Say

A Key West couple was arrested Saturday after deputies said they attacked a pair of gay tourists who were boating off Wisteria Island.

Christopher Thomas John Yarema, 43, faces charges of aggravated assault and causing property damage, while Stephanie Lynn Burnham, 35, faces charges of battery and causing property damage.

Yarema (left), Burnham (right)

Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies said two gay men from Hollywood, California, had rented a large boat with an inflatable dinghy Saturday to explore the waters off Wisteria Island. 

Around 4:30 p.m., Yarema and Burnham allegedly approached the couple's dinghy on a skiff and began yelling anti-gay slurs and other expletives, authorities said.

According to the arrest report, the couple appeared to be upset because of the men was wearing a Speedo-style swimsuit.

One of them shouted "Hey, Mr. Speedo [expletive], get the [expletive] off our island," the report said.

"You have five seconds to get off, or I will kill you," Burnham told the men, according to the report.

According to officials, before the men could leave, Yarema punched one of them in the face and broke his sunglasses. Burnham struck the same man on the head with a boat oar.

The man pushed Burnham away, enraging Yarema, according to deputies. 

“You knocked down my wife. I’m going to kill you,” Yarema reportedly told the victim. Yarema then pulled out a knife and began slashing at the tourists, Linhardt said. At one point, Yarema punctured the tourists' inflatable dinghy with the knife, deputies said.

The tourists managed to escape to their larger rental boat before the dinghy deflated and radioed the U.S. Coast Guard for help.

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