The teenagers charged with beating a classmate: Cara Murphy, Brittini Hardcastle, Mercades Nichols, Kayla Hassell, April Cooper, Brittany Mayes, Zachary Ashley and Stephen Schumaker. Photographs by Scott Wheeler/The Ledger
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Grady Judd, the Polk County sheriff, released three minutes of the videotaped beating, which went on for roughly half an hour. Before the gag order stopped him from doing interviews, he said the attack might have been retaliation for comments Ms. Lindsay posted on her MySpace page about some of the other girls.
By his account, the eight teenagers under arrest — Mercades Nichols, 17; April Cooper, 14; Brittini Hardcastle, 17; Kayla Hassell, 15; Brittany Mayes, 17; Cara Murphy, 16; Zachary Ashley, 17; and Stephen Schumaker, 18 — were not initially remorseful. He said he hoped that the attention the case had drawn would raise awareness about the Internet’s power to desensitize young people to violence.
The victim’s parents have taken a similar line. “For whatever reason, this MySpace, my-you, this YouTube has gone too far,” said Talisa Lindsay, in an interview outside their home. “It’s just too much.”
Her husband, Patrick, who stood beside her, went even further, declaring that Internet companies were to blame for what happened.
“As far as I’m concerned,” he said, “MySpace is the Antichrist for children.”
Last week, six of the 20 most-viewed YouTube videos were related to the attack.
QUESTION: Do you feel YouTube and MySpace are partly to blame for this attack?