PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) - A juvenile boot camp supervisor charged with killing a 14-year-old boy says guards would've stopped hitting the unresponsive teen if he just kept exercising.
Charles Helms testified at Tuesday's trial in Bay County, Florida.
He said he didn't see Martin Anderson's condition as a medical emergency and his main concern was to get the teen to comply with orders.
Helms is the highest ranking of seven ex-guards and a nurse on trial for manslaughter.
Guards repeatedly hit the boy and forced him to inhale ammonia after he collapsed while running laps at the camp in January 2006.
The nurse stood by watching the videotaped altercation. Anderson died early the next day at a hospital.
Prosecutors say the guards suffocated Anderson by covering his mouth and forcing him to inhale ammonia fumes.
Defense attorneys say the death was unavoidable because he had an undiagnosed disorder that can cause blood cells to shrivel into a sickle shape and limit their ability to carry oxygen under physical stress.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)