Anderson Supporters to Gather in Tallahassee

The case of Martin Lee Anderson is attracting nationally known civil rights leaders and Hollywood celebrities.

Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and actors Martin and Charlie Sheen are all expected to be in Tallahassee for an April 21 rally at the state capital.

The rally is more of a protest about the way local and state officials have handled the investigation into Anderson's death. The 14-year-old died the day after he was admitted to the now-defunct Bay County Juvenile Boot Camp on January 5.

Gov. Jeb Bush says all of the celebrities in the world won't influence the investigation or the state's policies.

"Mister Sharpton has been down here a couple of times in the past, and frankly he has every right to do it. I welcome him to Tallahassee, but when Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen and Al Sharpton come, it's not necessarily going to enhance the policy. I wish them well, but it's not something that I'm going to focus on."

Since Anderson's death, Gov. Bush has appointed Special Prosecutor Mark Ober to handle the case and there's been a second autopsy performed which purportedly shows Anderson did not die of natural causes, as local medical examiner Dr. Charles Seibert found.

Then last week, Ober relieved the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from investigating the case because of some e-mails between FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell and Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

Anderson's family has claimed there's been a cover-up. But Gov. Bush continues to defend the Department of Juvenile Justice, and he also rejected any suggestions that he put pressure on prosecutors to wrap up their investigation of the teenager's death.

"I can't tell a state attorney to speed up something that is being done thoughtfully so he'll be at his pace, which is the pace that will bring the greatest amount of justice, and I support him for doing it."

Anderson's family has called for the arrest and indictment of the boot camp drill instructors, the camp's nurse, Frank McKeithen, Dr. Seibert and Guy Tunnell. They've also asked for any charges or trial to be moved out of Bay County.


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