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Juneau Teenager Dies After Assault in Arkansas

July 29, 2011 - 6:09 pm

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

A Juneau teenager has died in Arkansas as a result of injuries sustained in a July 20 random assault.

Nineteen-year-old Kevin Thornton spent a week in a coma at a Little Rock hospital before he passed away Wednesday.

Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Investigator Phillip Calhoun says Thornton and a friend were walking along Traskwood Road in the Glen Rose area of the county when four teenagers attacked them. Thornton’s friend, 20-year-old Jerry Haines of Glen Rose, managed to flee. Thornton was severely beaten.

Calhoun says the suspects knew Haines, but there was no history among them.

Calhoun says Thornton was punched in the face and knocked to the ground. He apparently hit his head on a rock and was unconscious, but the youth continued to beat and kick him. They dragged Thornton into a ditch and left. He was found by a passerby who took him to a nearby church and called paramedics.

Four suspects, ages 14 to 17, have been arrested in connection with the beating and were charged Thursday with second degree murder. Because they’re juveniles, their names have not been released. Calhoun says they will be tried as adults.

Calhoun said the four boys had been drinking and were driving on Traskwood Road when they saw Thornton and Haines, and decided to beat them up.

Thornton had been visiting friends in Arkansas.

He was a 2010 graduate of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau. He is survived by his parents Bill and Darlene Thornton, and his sister, Katie.

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