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Boot camp director convicted in teen’s death

/ Source: The Associated Press

The director of a boot camp for troubled youths was convicted of manslaughter Monday in the death of a 14-year-old camper who collapsed in the triple-digit desert heat.

Charles Long, 59, was charged with second-degree murder in the July 2001 death of Anthony Haynes, but the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter.

Haynes died of complications from dehydration after collapsing near Buckeye. Prosecutors said the regimen at the camp included wearing black uniforms in the extreme heat, enduring harsh discipline and sleeping on cement slabs.

Long, a former Marine, was accused of telling counselors to bring Haynes back to the America’s Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association boot camp rather than taking him to a hospital. The boy nearly drowned when two counselors put him in a bathtub with the shower running to cool down.

Long’s attorney, JoAnn Garcia, argued that the boy’s mother was partially to blame because she failed to mention on enrollment forms that her son had a medical condition requiring him to drink more water and have access to shade.

Garcia also argued that parents knew what the camp entailed and were given pamphlets that described the program as a “no nonsense, in-your-face, tough-love operation.”

Long was also convicted of aggravated assault. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 24.

The camp was shut down after the teen’s death.