Medical Examiner Speaks of Pressure Around Boot Camp Teen's Death

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - The medical examiner who performed a second autopsy on the teen who died after being roughed up at a former Bay County juvenile boot camp says he wasn't influenced by outside pressure.

Doctor Vernard Adams is Hillsborough County's medical examiner who performed the second autopsy on 14-year-old Martin Anderson. He testified today in the manslaughter trial of seven boot camp guards and a nurse charged with killing the boy.

Adams said intense pressure from the former governor, civil rights activists and attorneys for the dead teen's parents did not influence the conclusions of his report.

He said the guards suffocated Anderson by covering his mouth and forcing him to inhale ammonia fumes. He said Anderson would have died even if he did not have sickle cell trait, a genetic blood disorder that the first autopsy blamed for the death.

Defense attorneys have argued Anderson's death was unavoidable once he collapsed while running laps at the camp's exercise yard.

They say sickle cell trait was the only cause.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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