Stephen E. Thompson, 45, was charged Monday with one count of third-degree assault that is being prosecuted as a hate crime.
A police report says 27-year-old Kara Jeslyn Barone was at a bar for a party Friday when she was assaulted just before midnight.
Barone told authorities she went into the women’s restroom when Thompson tried to force his way in.
Barone said she pushed him outside the door and locked him out. She said when Thompson’s girlfriend, who was in the restroom, opened the door, Thompson punched her and shouted anti-gay slurs.
“A situation that’s not acceptable, you know. We don’t condone assault. We don’t condone bigotry,” Down Under Lounge owner John Nosal said. “I heard a little bit of commotion and then I went around and I removed the combatant from the situation.”
Nosal said he hired Thompson as a disc jockey the night of the alleged assault. Nosal said he didn’t see what happened, but knows enough to not bring Thompson into his business anymore.
“Hopefully we can take the situation and learn from it and move forward,” Nosal said.
The photos of Barone with a bloody nose and split lip speak for themselves. She said, a few days later, the physical wounds are healing.
“I’m doing a lot better,” Barone said. “My nose feels better now. It hurt pretty bad, and my lip was sore for a couple days.”
She said the emotional pain will take time.
“It’s still a lot to take in and comprehend.”
Dahlia Strange said she was in the bathroom with Barone. She said she watched everything happen and was dating the man accused in the attack until he allegedly threw the punches. They have since separated.
“I hope he goes to jail for a long time. I don’t ever want to see him again,” Strange said.
Juan Villalobos, another friend who witnessed the event, said he was standing near where everything happened.
“I had blood all over my arms when he hit her, because I was that close to the situation,” Villalobos said.
Both Villalobos and Strange said they believe what they saw was a hate crime. Barone said she’s not as worried about her wounds and is more concerned about what they mean to the transgender community.
“When they see stuff like that, they could be afraid of coming out,” Barone said. “I was afraid to come out too, you know.”
With her accused attacker in jail, Barone is sharing her message.
O’Kroley was fired from his job at the Metro Market grocery store in Madison on Monday. According to the complaint, O’Kroley had already been suspended from the grocery store after Nosal complained to their supervisor about his frequent harassment. The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
Co-workers described a relationship between the two that soured after O’Kroley “wanted more,” according to the complaint. Two weeks before the shooting, Nosal had complained to store management that she was being harassed by O’Kroley, who was then suspended.
After O’Kroley was fired via phone, he immediately—and legally—bought a gun. NYDN reports:
The killer would have carried out his […] plot that night but confessed to cops that he wanted to practice using the firearm first since he had never fired one before.
O’Kroley sent texts to co-workers the day of the murder to find out when Nosal would be leaving work under the guise that he was going to return to the grocery store to get his belongings, according to the criminal complaint.