Seven Bay County boot camp guards and a nurse are now under arrest, in the death of Martin Lee Anderson.
Special Prosecutor Mark Ober announced “aggravated manslaughter" charges against them Tuesday, after a lengthy investigation.
Gina Jones and Robert Anderson were brought by the attorney from Panama City to Tallahassee in part for their safety.
The family has faced threats in the past as they pushed for criminal charges against those responsible for 14-year-old Martin's death.
Facing reporters for the first time, they express relief.
“Today is a good day for me,” said Mother, Gina Jones. “I’m finally getting justice for my baby.”
Robert Anderson, Martin’s father said Tuesday, “I just want to say that it feels like a brick has been lifted off my shoulders and tonight, I might get me some rest.”
They cried as they thought about their first Christmas without their son.
“No Martin, no Christmas,” Gina said. “Me and my daughter went out there and dressed up his grave for Christmas. That’s Christmas from us to Martin.”
Their attorney, Benjamin Crump called the charges. “It was a bold step, but it’s a big step,” he said. “It’s a step a lot of people doubt.”
Crump says he expects the trial to be fair, even if it remains in Panama City. “Nobody who watches that videotape will have any doubt that they’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of not acting humane.”
The family and Jeb Bush have at times, been at odds over this case, but as seven guards and a nurse face charges 11 months after Martin's death, they both share the feeling that the system is working.
Special Prosecutor Mark Ober was in Tallahassee Tuesday, as well.
He's been working on this case since March and has been under considerable pressure to take some action.
Tuesday, he did just that. "All have been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, [which is] a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in the Florida State Prison."
Ober says the seven guards are already under arrest and the nurse is expected to turn herself in by the end of the day.
Martin Lee Anderson's death sparked the elimination of military-style boot camps in Florida and the resignation of the state's top law enforcement officer.
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