Monday, September 24, 2007

Jury Selection Begins For Boot Camp Death

an excerpt from: - Jury Selection Begins For Boot Camp Death

Nurse Stood By Watching As Guards Punished Anderson

(CBS4) PANAMA CITY Martin Lee Anderson walked onto the exercise yard of a Panama City boot camp for troubled teens nearly two years ago. Within hours, a grainy camp surveillance tape showed, he was struck repeatedly by guards as a nurse watched and soon collapsed. The 14 year old was carried off on a stretcher and died the next day.

Jury selection is under way in the manslaughter trial of seven Bay County juvenile boot camp guards and a nurse charged with the boy's death. Potential jurors were greeted Monday morning by chanting protesters carrying photographs of the slain teenager outside a government center in Panama City.

The case has gotten so much media attention locally that more than 1,400 Bay County residents - or one of every 90 adults - have been called to the Panama City Marina Civic Center in an attempt to find an impartial jury. If not, the trial will have to be moved to another Florida county.

"I can think of lots of trials where 300, 400 or 500 potential jurors were called but I cannot think of one with 1,400 - that's somewhat unprecedented," said Philip K. Anthony, chief executive officer of Decision Quest, a national jury consulting firm.

But Anthony, whose company has consulted in more than 15,000 trials, predicted a local jury will eventually be seated .

"It always amazes me the people you ultimately find who know absolutely nothing about an issue," he said.

Anderson was sent to the camp for a probation violation - he trespassed at a school after he and his cousins were charged with stealing their grandmother's car from a church parking lot.

During his first hours at the camp, which has since closed, Anderson became lethargic during a physical fitness test. An exercise yard videotape shows the guards using their fists and knees to repeatedly take Anderson to the ground and then holding ammonia capsules under his nose. The camp nurse, Kristin Schmidt, watched and did nothing during most of the 30-minute encounter with the seven men. The teen died hours later on Jan. 6, 2006.

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