Guards, Nurse Acquitted of Manslaughter in Boot Camp Case

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - Seven former boot camp guards who were videotaped striking a 14-year-old boy have been acquitted of manslaughter, as was a nurse who stood by watching.

A Florida jury took about 90 minutes to decide whether the guards were responsible for the death of Martin Lee Anderson.

Surveillance video shows the guards striking the limp boy with their fists and knees in January of last year.

The case caused protests, and prompted Florida to close its juvenile boot camp system.

Defense attorneys argued that the guards properly handled what they thought was a juvenile offender faking illness to avoid exercising on his first day in the camp.

They also said Anderson's death was unavoidable because of a blood disorder.

The defendants would have faced up to 30 years in prison had they been convicted.

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