The Atlanta man charged with stabbing five people in a fight during a New Year’s Eve party after he was called “faggot” is expected to be released by Thursday on $35,000 bond.
Luke O’Donovan has been held in the Fulton County Jail on five counts of aggravated assault since his Jan. 1 arrest. But that changed Wednesday when Fulton Magistrate Judge Karen Woodson set a $35,000 bond for O’Donovan. One of his attorneys, Greg Schwarz, says he expects O’Donovan’s family to post the bond and have him released by Thursday.
Now, Schwarz says, their legal efforts will turn to working with the Fulton District Attorney’s office to drop the charges against O’Donovan.
“It is certainly our goal [to have the charges dropped,” Schwarz says. “Our goal is to establish what happened out there. There are a lot of people to talk to. We are going to start investigating the case and what we can prove to show [prosecutors] that Luke was acting in self defense as opposed to the one that initiated the case.”
Supporters of O’Donovan—who have raised nearly $4,000 in a legal defense fund and created a Facebook page and website – say he’s the victim of a queer-bashing who defended himself after being called “faggot” and harassed for dancing with men at a New Year’s Eve party in Atlanta’s Reynoldstown neighborhood. On Sunday, they held a public meeting to discuss the case and how to support O’Donovan.
Some supporters of the five men O’Donovan is charged with stabbing say he overreacted when the men jokingly aimed the homophobic slur at him. An incident report released Jan. 3 by Atlanta police says the fight between six men started “over a discussion regarding sexuality” about 3:40 a.m. on Jan. 1.
“The fight quickly escalated when the suspect, Mr. Luke O’Donovan pulled out a knife,” according to the incident report. “Witnesses stated that the victims were attempting to stop Mr. O’Donovan when they were also stabbed.”
Supporters of O’Donovan say he is queer, not gay, and the GA Voice has reported that he has a girlfriend. Schwarz says he’s in “no position to talk about [O’Donovan’s sexuality and how he wishes to be labeled.”
Schwarz says that witnesses to the New Year’s Eve incident describe a party with more than 100 people at a Reynoldstown home. A group of men called O’Donovan a “faggot” and he took offense to the slur, Schwarz says.
“They decided that they were going to target Luke for being open about their sexuality,” he says.
When O’Donovan’s friends later left the party, the group of men that called him an anti-gay slur then attacked him. O’Donovan struggled to get away, but the men attached him a second time, Schwarz says.
“They got him again and at some point a knife was pulled out and everyone involved was cut,” he says. “He struggled a second time and was able to get away.”
O’Donovan and five other people were treated at a local hospital for injuries they sustained during the incident, according to police.