July, 20 2018

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Florida, Boot Camp Guards Testify

A former sergeant major at the Bay County Boot Camp on Tuesday went through his role step by step in the hours before Martin Lee Anderson's death.

Raymond Hauck is one of seven former guards at the boot camp and a nurse who are all charged with the teenager's January 2006 death. The guards were videotaped hitting, punching and kicking Anderson after he refused to complete a 1.5 mile run. They were also taped holding his mouth closed and pushing ammonia close to his nose -- actions that one doctor testified caused Anderson's death by asphyxiating him.

Tesimony of the Guards

Hauck insisted that he could feel Anderson breathing, even though Hauck had his hand clasped over the teen's mouth and was holding ammonia near his nose. He said Anderson was breathing through his covered mouth in order to avoid inhaling the ammonia.

Like his former supervisor, Lt. Charles Helms, who testified before him, Hauck said he just wanted to help Anderson.

Did you ever do anything to try and harm that boy? Hauck's attorney, Jim White, asked him.

No I did not.

You try to help him? White continued.

I wanted to get him to do what he needed to do, to get him through that program,'' he said, his voice trailing off.

Earlier in the day, Helms testified under cross-examination that when he had held his hand over Anderson's mouth, he had spread his fingers so that Anderson could breath. But he acknowledged that the maneuver was designed to prevent the boy from breathing through his mouth -- forcing him to inhale the ammonia.

Both Helms and Hauck said the ammonia was not being used as punishment but to get Anderson to do what he needed to do. Helms said Anderson could have stopped the punishment by obeying orders to continue running.

Helms, who had worked at the boot camp since it opened in 1994, said he had never had a case of an inmate not completing required exercises.

If a child is running and severely sprains his ankle during the run, wouldn't it be acceptable to say, not complete (on the intake form),'' prosecutor Mike Sinacore asked.

Yessir, that's correct,'' Helms responded.

So there are times when it's perfectly acceptable for a child not to complete the physical assessment,'' Sinacore asked.

Yessir, but it's never happened,'' Helms said.

The defense has claimed that Anderson's sickle cell trait caused him to collapse during an exercise regimen and that the treatment he subsequently received from the guards had nothing to do with his death. Sickle cell trait is a normally benign genetic condition that was not on the medical forms boot camp inmates were required to fill out.

The Day Anderson Arrived at the Camp

Helms said the day Anderson collapsed was cool, a good day for exercising, and that the teen had a good attitude when he was admitted to the program.

He testified on Monday that he went with Anderson to the Panama City hospital in the ambulance and then drove to Pensacola when Anderson was airlifted because his military backround had taught him never to abandon one of his men.

Other Testimonies

The rest of the officers and the nurse are expected to testify today and tomorrow. The defense also plans to put on an expert in sickle cell trait who will say Anderson's death was caused by the condition. They're also planning on putting Bay County's Medical Examiner on the stand.

He was the first to find evidence of sickling in Anderson's blood and blame his death on that condition. But the case was taken out of his hands after the videotape was made public, prompting a national outcry.

The boot camp was closed shortly after Anderson died and the rest of the state's military-style camps for juvenile delinquents were shut down later last year.

Panama Cities Reaction to the Case

Anderson's family settled a $4.8 million claim with the state of Florida over the boy's death. Many in Panama City have called the settlement a pre-trial conviction'' and written angry letters to the editor of the local newspaper.

Anderson's death has divided this Panhandle town, with many believing the guards were just doing their jobs and are being tried because of political agendas, not because of evidence. Meanwhile, others believe see the case as an example of how blacks are discounted in this rural community.

During the lunch break, a group of black and white ministers gathered with a handful of parishioners to pray for Anderson's family, for the defendants and their families, and for the jury that must ultimately decide.

The trial is expected to last through the end of the week. If convicted, each of the eight defendants faces 30 years in prison.

Related Articles:
Florida Boot Camp Case, Victim Handled According to "Procedure" 10/8/07
Pyramid Club in Ohio helps local at-risk youth to achieve success 10/6/07
New York: Teens Charged in Sex Crime at Residential Treatment Center 10/12/07
Utah Teens Who Escaped from Boarding School Apprehended 10/9/07
Boot Camp Death Part of National Investigation 10/4/07
Virginia Boot Camp Brings Hope to Troubled Teens 10/8/07
Illinois Parents Want WWASP Academy Closed 10/7/07
Florida Teen Boot Camp Case, Medical Examiner Testifies 10/5/07
17 Teens in Louisiana May Return to School after time at Boot Camp 10/3/07
Illinois Program for Troubled Teens Acquired 10/3/07

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