An Atlanta teenager is recovering in the intensive care unit after two of his peers severely scalded him in a dispute over a video game, The Daily Mail is reporting.
Damon Clay, 17, was sleeping when two of his “friends,” identified as 19-year-old Quintavious Barber and 18-year-old Malik Morton, poured boiling rice over him. The two believed that Damon had stolen a PlayStation3.
Clay is currently listed in critical condition at an Atlanta hospital with burns on over 70 percent of his body. He is in a medically-induced coma.
According to neighbors, the three teens were friends. Neighbor Laprell Grant tells WSP (Atlanta) that he believed the three men were buddies.
“They were friends. Everybody was supposed to be friends.”
Another neighbor, Tamara Miller, was appalled that anyone would do such a thing to such a young person.
“I think it’s ridiculous somebody would do a child like that.”
Kentaveus Watson, who rents the apartment where the scalding attack took place, says he’s still haunted by the teen’s injuries.
“It scared me, really. Ever since it happened, I’ve been sleeping on the couch right where he got burned.”
Damon Clay is one of many Atlanta young men who have been in the criminal justice system, only to be forgotten about by their families and even the system itself. He had done time for burglary and was supposed to be released into a nonprofit program that helps teens and young adults such as him get straightened out. A minister who works within the program had promised to shelter and guide him.
For reasons that aren’t clear, that didn’t happen. Instead, the teen scalding victim bounced from home to home, crashing on the couches of friends and relatives who could put him up for a night or two.
His aunt, who declined to be identified, blamed the failures of the criminal justice system for her nephew’s potentially-fatal attack. Speaking to a reporter near the scene of the crime, she said that Damon might have been safe behind bars than on the streets.
“He didn’t have any supervision, none. I’d rather my nephew be in jail than to be here.”
The two men responsible for the attack have been arrested and are currently in jail, facing charges of aggravated assault and cruelty to a child.
Damon’s aunt says the scalding victim will likely bear the scars of his assault for the rest of his life.
“He’s scarred for the rest of his life. He will never be the same.”
Doctors will attempt to take the teen scalding victim off a ventilator on Sunday.
[Image courtesy of: WSB]