One-Year Anniversary of Martin Lee Anderson's Death

By: Kate Eckman Email
By: Kate Eckman Email

Friday the Anderson family and friends gathered at the Redwood Cemetery in Panama City to mark the first anniversary of Martin's death with a wreath laying ceremony at his grave.

About 25 people were there. The event was not open to the public.

The stormy weather was appropriate for the solemn occasion. The rain poured down heavily Friday morning, a poignant moment for the family of Martin Lee Anderson who is memorializing the one year anniversary of his death.

Benjamin L. Crump, the family's attorney, said, "The weather shows how solemn of an occasion this is. It's just not a beautiful day today. It's a hard day today. The weather suggests how difficult this day is."

Anderson died January 6, a day after he was admitted to the Bay County Juvenile Boot Camp and manhandled by drill instructors. The video tape of the incident put the case into virtually every living room in the country, and now many people are watching it closely to see the outcome.

"This case will send a message long after today. This case will certainly stay in the hearts and minds of the family, but I think it will affect all of us in a way that many situations haven't affected us."

In November, special prosecutor Mark Ober charged seven drill instructors and the boot camp's nurse with aggravated manslaughter in Anderson's death.

Family members say they know nothing can bring Martin back, but they would like to see justice served and have some closure.

"I can only pray that the new commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice and Gov. Crist will address this Martin Lee Anderson case and get to a resolution so this family and all of us in Florida and the nation can start to heal."

"Martin, you rest and we won't rest until we get justice."

The Anderson family has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Bay County Sheriff's Office.

The trial date is set for April. The criminal case could take months to come to trial.


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