June, 22 2017

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Boot camp director convicted of manslaughter in teen's death

PHOENIX - The director of a boot camp for TROUBLED youth was convicted Monday of reckless manslaughter in the death of a 14-year-old sent to the camp by his mother.

Charles Long, director of the America's Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association boot camp, was charged with second-degree murder in the July 2001 death of Anthony Haynes, but the jury instead convicted him of the lesser charge.

He was also convicted of aggravated assault, but the jury deadlocked on eight counts of child abuse in the 3�-month-long trial.


Haynes' mother, Melanie Hudson, said she was grateful for the verdict.

"It won't bring Tony back," she said, but it provides closure more than three years after his death.

Investigators said Haynes, who attended Long's "tough love" camp near Buckeye, died of complications of dehydration and near-drowning after he collapsed at the desert camp in triple-digit heat.

Two camp supervisors put him in a bathtub with the shower running at a motel near the camp to cool down. They found him face down in the water and called Long.

Long, 59, was accused of telling the supervisors to bring Haynes, who wasn't responding, back to the camp.

Long maintained the allegations against him were false, and his attorney argued parents knew what the camp entailed. They were given pamphlets that described the camp as a "no-nonsense, in-your-face, tough-love operation."

Attorney JoAnn Garcia also argued that Hudson, who paid $2,000 to send the teen to the camp after he was caught shoplifting and slashed her tires, failed to tell camp operators that Haynes had a medical condition requiring him to drink more water and to have access to shade.

A call to Long's attorney after the verdict was read was not immediately returned Monday.

Prosecutors said the camp's regimen included wearing black uniforms in triple-digit temperatures, harsh discipline and sleeping on cement slabs in sleeping bags in sweltering heat.

The camp was shut down after the TEEN's death.

Long, who is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 24, faces a minimum five-year sentence on the aggravated assault charge but could face up to 15 years. He faces another four to 10 years on the manslaughter conviction.

Bill FitzGerald, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney's office, said prosecutors had not yet decided whether they would seek another trial on the child abuse charges.

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