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Boot Camp Trial Verdict: “Not Guilty”

October 12th, 2007 by flanews

A Bay County jury took less than 3 hours to acquit seven guards and a nurse charged in the death of a 14-year-old boy.  Martin Lee Anderson died in January 2006.  As Chris Casquejo tells us, the boy’s family reacted with anger to the verdict.

Hear it here: Boot Camp Trial Verdict

Dead silence filled the courtroom as the verdict was read.

“The defendant is not guilty.”

The eight defendants were cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of Martin Lee Anderson.  The jury took about 3 hours to reach a verdict.  Anderson’s father was too overcome with emotion to react, but not his mother.

“I won’t see my son no more. They’ll see their family members.  Martin was 14 years old. At least we do know, you can kill a young black male and not do time for that.  Everything was in black and white, the video.  How in the hell are they going to let them walk away?” asked an angry Gina Jones.

The eight defendants’ family members say what happened here at the Bay County Boot Camp is a tragedy for everyone involved, their loved ones and the Andersons.

“I’m very sorry about what happened to their son,” said defense attorney Waylon Graham.  “It is a true tragedy, but these men did not commit a crime.”

Bay County Medical Examiner Charles Siebert’s initial autopsy ruled that Anderson died from sickle cell trait complications, findings that many called into question.

“I didn’t just make this up,” Siebert said.  “This is something that’s a real disease.  This is something that people can die from.  This is something we can learn from instead of burying our heads in the sand and saying, ‘Oh, he’s a liar.  It doesn’t exist.  Sickle cell doesn’t harm you.’  Let’s learn from this and prevent more kids from dying.”

With an emotional trial now over, the eight defendants look forward to moving on with their lives.  The question is, can the Andersons find peace?

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