updated 4/27/2006 4:28:05 PM ET 2006-04-27T20:28:05

Two white teenagers severely beat and sodomized a 16-year-old Hispanic boy who they believed had tried to kiss a 12-year-old white girl at a party, authorities said.

The attackers forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting anti-Hispanic epithets, said sheriff’s Lt. John Martin.

He was in critical condition Thursday.

Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent said the attackers also cut the victim with a knife. They then poured bleach over the boy, apparently to destroy DNA evidence, and left him for dead, authorities said. He was not discovered until Sunday, 12 hours after the attack.

The victim, whose name was not released, suffered severe internal injuries, cuts on his chest and head injuries.

“It’s about 50-50 whether he lives or dies at this point,” Trent said.

Keith Robert Turner, 17, and David Henry Tuck, 18, were charged with aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of five years to life in prison, investigators said. Prosecutors are considering whether to attach hate-crime charges.

“Whether it is one or isn’t a hate crime, and it may be, that will make no difference here,” Trent said. “This is already a first-degree felony and it can’t be elevated any higher. There’s nowhere to go beyond this, unless the victim dies.”

If the boy dies and it is ruled a hate crime, Tuck could face the death penalty, authorities said. Turner would be too young to face execution.

Turner was jailed on $100,000 bail. Tuck’s bail was initially set at $20,000, but it was revoked Thursday.

Spring is a middle-class, largely white suburb of 36,000 residents, about 10 miles north of the Houston city line.

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