|By the time they reached Deerfield Beach Middle School, four of the five young teenagers accused of setting a classmate on fire had already grown up in a fractured world where crime or violence was a fact of life.|
Most were raised in families in which one or both parents have numerous criminal arrests and a history of domestic abuse. In several cases, court records show the parents have drug or alcohol problems. And investigators say all five boys, ages 13 to 16 -- have had brushes with the law.
But the group of seventh-graders now face charges for a crime far worse than the criminal mischief of their past. The boys -- acting together -- ganged up on 15-year-old Michael Brewer outside a Deerfield Beach apartment complex on Oct. 12. Acting on the orders of one boy, they doused him with rubbing alcohol and set him ablaze. As Brewer screamed in terror, they all ran, authorities say.
At least three of them laughed about it after they were arrested, according to Sgt. Steve Feeley of the Broward Sheriff's Office. Their motive, Feeley said, was retaliation against the victim for snitching over a feud involving a $40 video game and a bicycle.
A Miami Herald review of court and police reports, along with interviews of law enforcement authorities and others, reveals a troubling portrait of the five suspects' family lives.
Records in Palm Beach and Broward counties show that the parents of four of the boys have convictions for a litany of crimes, including child neglect, drunken driving, assault and battery, burglary, fleeing police, drug possession, and drug dealing.
Among other things, one suspect's father was accused of stabbing a man who owed him money. Two other teen suspects -- brothers -- were once removed from their home by state child welfare authorities because of child abuse. A fourth suspect's father had been arrested a dozen times -- the boy's mother had been arrested nine times.
Their parents' arrests often resulted in guilty pleas and no-contest convictions on lesser charges, according to court records the newspaper was able to obtain. But not all of their arrest records detail what, if any, jail time was served.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Boys who burned teen came from broken homes
The gist of the article is the boys came from rotten homes with rotten parents which is partly the explanation why they set the kid on fire. My feeling is that doesn't even matter because at that age you know right from wrong and setting another person on fire is not a gray area. These teens are lost and have no value to society, lock them up.