Eight former boot camp workers were acquitted of manslaughter Friday in the death of a 14-year-old boy who was videotaped being punched and kicked. The scene sparked outrage and changes in the juvenile system, but it took jurors just 90 minutes to decide it was not a crime.
Anger over the verdict was obvious outside the courtroom, where bystanders screamed “murderer” at former guard Henry Dickens as he described his relief at the verdict.
Martin Lee Anderson died a day after being hit and kicked by Dickens and six other guards as a nurse watched, a 30-minute confrontation that drew protests in the state capital and spelled the end of Florida’s system of juvenile boot camps.
The defendants testified that they followed the rules at a get-tough facility where young offenders often feigned illness to avoid exercise. Their attorneys said that Anderson died not from rough treatment, but from a previously undiagnosed blood disorder.
The boy’s mother, Gina Jones, stormed out of the courtroom.
New AIDS drug approved
The government approved a novel anti-AIDS pill on Friday, offering a new option for hard-to-treat patients.
Manufacturer Merck & Co. said Isentress should be on pharmacy shelves within two weeks.
The AIDS virus uses three different enzymes to reproduce and infect cells. Numerous drugs are available that target two of those enzymes, called protease and reverse transcriptase.
Isentress is the first in a new class of medicines that blocks the third enzyme, called integrase. Added to “cocktails” of other HIV medicines, the drug can lower the amount of HIV in the blood and help infection-fighting immune cells rebound.
Overdose probe sparks raids
California authorities investigating circumstances surrounding the overdose death of Anna Nicole Smith raided six locations Friday, including the offices and residences of two doctors.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to say what charges could be filed but said the investigation involved the “prescribing and dispensing practices of several California licensed doctors and pharmacies.”
Search warrants were served, and there were no arrests, he told a news conference. He added, “You don’t go to a judge and get a search warrant for somebody’s home unless you think some rather serious crime has been committed.”
Brown said he launched the investigation on March 30 after he learned that the drugs involved in Smith’s Feb. 8 death were prescribed by California physicians and came from California pharmacies.
Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, died of an overdose of drugs at a Florida hotel. She was 39.