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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Students plan protest as boot camp trial nears




College students who helped elevate the boot camp death of a boy in Panama City into a statewide concern are re-energizing as the trial nears for seven guards and a nurse accused of contributing to the death.

The Student Coalition for Justice plans to meet at Florida State University tonight to announce a "plan of action" for the jury selection to begin Monday in Panama City. Given widespread news coverage of the case, more than 1,400 people are expected to be called as potential jurors.

Martin Lee Anderson, 14, died last January after collapsing at the boot camp. Security video showed guards hitting and kneeing him, though a Bay County medical examiner said he died naturally, of internal bleeding caused by sickle cell trait. A second autopsy contradicted that finding and the guards and nurse were arrested. The Legislature has already awarded Anderson's parents $5-million.

UPDATE: The students plan to protest in Panama City on Monday, traveling by bus and car from Tallahassee. "We're trying to bring as much attention back to this case as possible," organizer Vanessa Baden said Thursday night. "It's pretty safe to say this is not where you should have this trial."

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:05pm]


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