Sunday, December 17, 2017
Public safety

Homeless New Port Richey man dies after beating from teenagers, police say

Hours after the beating, and four days before his death on Saturday, the homeless man told police what three teenagers had done to him.

Franklin Randolph, 54, told New Port Richey police he had been kicked, punched and spit on. One attacker bashed him with a stick the size of baseball bat. Another threw a concrete block at him. He was found Tuesday in his homeless camp, coated in dirt, feces and urine. Insects swarmed his bloody body. His nose was broken. He was taken to Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.

Franklin identified photographs of two of the teens, investigators say: Anthony Frederick Phillips, 15, and Brandon Charles Youngerman, 17.

But Brandon's father, Michael Youngerman, insists that investigators — and Randolph — got it wrong.

Brandon was with him all day Tuesday, he said, helping clean the house. On Friday night, his younger son, Allan, admitted that he, not Brandon, was the one with Anthony that day.

Allan, 16, told his father that when he saw Anthony throwing sticks at Randolph, the boy got scared and ran away.

"My question was, why didn't Allan do something?" he said. "Why, I don't know. He's a very quiet kid."

Just Monday, Youngerman said, Brandon had taken Randolph a sandwich. The brothers liked him. They cared for him.

So why, then, would Randolph allege that three boys — not one — had beaten him?

"Frank was very incoherent," Youngerman said.

Youngerman told this story to detectives about his sons. He expects his older son to be released from jail Monday.

Early Saturday afternoon, police Chief Kim Bogart said he was still working with prosecutors to determine whether murder charges would be filed. He did not respond to messages left later in the day asking for a reaction to Youngerman's assertions.

Anthony Phillips has never been charged with a crime. His father did not return a message Saturday evening.

While who's responsible remains unclear, one thing is certain: This is not the Youngermans' first trouble with the law.

Since age 11, Brandon has been arrested nine times and pleaded guilty to several charges including aggravated battery, credit card fraud, burglary, resisting an officer with violence, battery on an emergency worker and battery on a law enforcement officer.

During an arrest in 2012, police say, he threatened to kill one officer's family and blow up the police station.

Despite many of the charges being read to him, Youngerman recalled little of his son's arrests.

"I don't want to say anything about any violent attempts," he said, "because I'm just not aware of anything violent that he did."

Once, he believed, his son had gotten into trouble for throwing a pencil at a teacher.

Allan, arrested six times since 2010, has pleaded guilty to battery three times.

Their father has been arrested nine times. He was convicted of child abuse in 2005, but he says the charge was exaggerated. He said a routine spanking left a red mark on Allan's butt, and the day care reported it.

Both boys, he said, have been deeply affected by their mother's absence. Youngerman said she was seldom around and went to prison last year on drug charges.

Still, he said he's certain his sons wouldn't hurt anyone.

"It doesn't matter what Brandon did in his past," he said. "This was an ungodly act and this wasn't in Brandon or Allan's character."

Brandon, he said, has recently begun attending church and improving his behavior. A February arrest on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle and fleeing and eluding law enforcement, Youngerman said, was "just a joy ride that didn't turn out so good."

His oldest, he insisted, is on the right path.

"He made a big 360 degree turnaround," Youngerman said.

Times researcher Natalie A. Watson contributed to this report.

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