On the 18th of June in 2007, at 9 in the evening, a 35-year-old woman came home to her apartment in the Dunbar Village housing project in West Palm Beach, Florida. She had just finished up a long day of delivering telephone books and she was tired.
She had immigrated to the United States in 2000 from Haiti with her then five-year-old son, hoping for a better life.
Before she went upstairs to bed, she and her son had started to make something downstairs in the kitchen for dinner when there was a knock at the door.
A young black male was at the door, his hair in braids. The teenager told her that her truck had a few flat tires and that she should come and look at them.
Following the apparent “good samaritan” outside, she hadn’t taken more than a few steps when three teenagers – all wearing masks and all carrying guns – pointed the weapons at her and told her to get back into her apartment.
They hit her, knocking her to the floor. They pushed her son down to the floor as well.
They demanded money, which she didn’t have.
Incensed at the lack of easy money in the apartment, the four boys beat the woman and her son, stripped the woman of her clothing, took her to the bedroom and raped her over and over, with each boy taking his turn.
Her son was held at gunpoint, forced to watch.
As they raped and sodomized her, she cried out in pain and fear.
Nobody came to help, not then, not when she heard her son cry out when they stripped him naked as well, sporadically breaking light bulbs and plates on his head.
Up to five other teenagers did arrive, but they had come to join in on the raping and cruelty.
These other teenagers also raped and sodomized the woman, recording it all for posterity on a cell phone.
Eventually, after everyone had their turn with the woman in her upstairs bedroom, they brought her son upstairs at gunpoint. Holding a gun to the 12-year-old’s head, the gang forced his mother to perform oral sex on him.
It is unclear as to whether or not mother and son were forced to have sex with each other.
When everyone had finished abusing the woman sexually, they forced her into the bathtub, which they filled with vinegar and water. They poured common household cleaning products over her, such as hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover and ammonia-based cleaning solution.
Some ammonia was also thrown into her son’s eyes.
They forced a bar of soap into her vagina, hoping to remove physical evidence.
While they were doing this, the gang also threw ammonia into her son’s eyes.
After the group was convinced that they had disposed of the evidence, someone suggested setting the mother and her son on fire. After searching for – but not finding – a lighter, the group left, warning the pair that if they got out of the tub, they’d be killed.
30 minutes later, while the mother and her son were still in the tub, crying in pain, one of the teenagers returned to sexually assault the woman one more time. He wrote a man’s name and 6-CO – a different man and a different gang than the one that had gang-raped this family – on a piece of paper, telling her that he could be found on Sixth street.
As he left, he took the Playstation 2 with him.
The woman and her son stayed in the apartment for two hours after the attack. Nobody came to investigate the screams, nobody called the police for help.
Because their assailants had stolen their cell phone, their home phone and their fax machine, they were unable to call for assistance themselves.
It was a long walk to the Good Samaritan Medical Center, but they walked the mile together, two hours after the attack ended.
They were badly injured. The 12-year-old had to be immobilized for more than two days on his hospital bed, with bandages covering both eyes and a two-inch gash on the top of his skull.
There was a mild public outcry.
14-year-old Avion Lawson was the first to be arrested. He confessed after investigators let him know that his DNA had been found in a condom recovered at the apartment. While being driven to the Juvenile Assessment Center, Avion called some friends and laughingly told them what was going on. Avion Lawson has been charged with armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators, armed home invasion, aggravated battery and sexual assault.
The next idiot to be picked up was 16-year-old Nathan Walker. Nathan Walker is a seventh-grade dropout, who called it quits after failing three times. His fingerprint was found at the apartment and his DNA was found on the outside of the condom Avion Lawson had used. When Nathan Walker was brought into the police station, he flipped out, throwing chairs at the walls until guards were able to put him in handcuffs and leg restraints.
On July 15th, Jakaris Taylor, a 15-year-old whose younger brother played with the 12-year-old he assaulted, was arrested. During interrogation, he was asked why he didn’t stop his friends, to which he replied, “I don’t know.” When he was asked why he did it, he shrugged his shoulders.
The latest rapist to be charged is 18-year-old Tommy Lee Poindexter, who was, on August 16th, indicted by a grand jury that saw “unspecified physical evidence” and charged him with sexual battery, kidnapping and burglary. – 14 counts in all.
Although Mr. Poindexter denied being involved and his mother, 44-year-old Harriet Rodgers, has claimed her precious Tommy was at home with her that night, the evidence prosecutors presented was considered “fairly damning.”
Prosecutors are chomping at the bit, pledging to ask for the maximum penalty for all the teens involved and refusing to entertain the idea of plea bargains for anyone.
Despite the youth of the individuals involved, they all face the possibility of life in an adult prison.
No juvenile hall for these dogs.
West Palm Beach police spokesman Peter Robbins told the press, “We’re certainly developing more suspects and anticipate more arrests.”
Too bad the death penalty is off the table in this particular instance. Life in prison seems too good.