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Lawyers For Guards Express Varying Degrees of Surprise Over Charges

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - A lawyer for a former guard at a juvenile boot camp in Florida says he's surprised that the guard is being charged with aggravated manslaughter.

Seven former guards and a nurse are charged in the death of a 14-year-old boy who'd been roughly handled, in an incident that was caught on videotape.

A lawyer for former guard Joseph Walsh says he hoped "cooler heads would prevail." But he says he knows there was "political pressure" to bring charges. An attorney who represents the highest-ranking guard among those charged says it's no surprise, and that his client will surrender later Tuesday.

Martin Anderson collapsed in the exercise yard at the sheriff's camp in Panama City in January. Guards said he had been uncooperative. The teen-ager died the next morning.

The former guards and the nurse who watched the altercation could each face up to 30 years in prison.

Governor Jeb Bush, who appointed a prosecutor to investigate the death, says he hopes "justice will be served" -- and also that the family of the teen-ager will get the answers to their questions.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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