Two suspects have been arrested, but a Florida mom is demanding more justice after her son killed himself following a brutal beating by a group of teens.
A disturbing video from a September 7 incident at a Milton community center showed at least two 16-year-old teen males beating another teen boy while he curled up helplessly in the bed of a truck. A few days later, the victim, identified as 16-year-old Joey McGlone, took his own life.
The suspects were charged with misdemeanor battery but the victim’s mother, Dana McGlone, said the charges do not fit the crime. She’s also on a mission to spread awareness about bullying, in hopes that what happened to her son won’t happen to another child.
Dana told CrimeOnline that her son was at a Milton High School football game when “four bullies” began chasing him. Joey saw a familiar truck parked at the community center and ran to it, jumped in bed and urged the driver to “go” as the suspects were fast approaching. Joey grabbed a pipe for protection but when the truck stalled, it was too late. The suspects jumped in the bed of the truck and reportedly began beating and kicking him.
Joey balled up into a fetal position position as the suspects continued to punch and kick him. A female witness attempted to intervene but the suspects continued the attack while the teen tried in vain to shield himself by covering his face with his arms.
“Then he was bullied Tuesday and they told him they will do it every week,” McGlone explained.
The teen suspects, according to Milton Police Chief Tony Tindell, were charged with misdemeanor battery because they didn’t use a deadly weapon during the incident, according to ABC.
“To be a felony, they would have had to use a deadly weapon, cause great bodily harm, or permanent disfigurement.”
It’s something that bewilders McGlone. She told CrimeOnline that “swatting my man with a newspaper” would be battery, not “beating and kicking someone brutally.” Although it remains unclear why the incident occurred, court documents obtained by the Pensacola News Journal indicated that it may have occurred over “stolen marijuana.”
McGlone said her son may have been targeted because he has gay friends. She also indicated that the teens may have attacked him because he reportedly turned incriminating information over to police. However, she said she’s only heard rumors and isn’t certain why the suspects started harassing and ultimately beating her son. Regardless, she indicated nothing was worth him fearing future beatings so badly that he shot himself.
“Somebody needs to do an investigation,” said Mcglone. “I want to know where the teachers and police were during the school function where my child was brutally beaten. Because when we did a rally, there were seven of them that stopped me from marching at the school.”
McGlone said bullying is a serious issue at Milton High School as well as Santa Rosa County in general. She wants her son’s story to be one that people can learn from, and thinks a misdemeanor “slap on the wrist” charge does nothing to deter bullies.
“Bullying is killing kids. Must be handled as a flu virus would be.”
On September 22, Dr. Jennifer Zimmerman, a Democrat candidate in the race for Florida’s First Congressional District, attended a march against bullying with McGlore and many others, in honor of Joey.
Today, I attended the march against bullying in honor of the young life lost far too soon at just 16, Joey McGlone. I spoke at length with Joey’s mother and felt the pain and helplessness she is experiencing right now. pic.twitter.com/LcPC5zputt
— Dr Jennifer Zimmerman (@DrZ4Congress) September 22, 2018
According to Tindell, the investigation is still open. Additional arrests are possible if additional evidence is found.
Anyone with information regarding the attack is urged to call the Milton Police Department at 850-983-5423, or Santa Rosa County Crime Stoppers at 850-437-STOP.
**WARNING: Graphic Video**
[Feature Photo: Joey McGlone/Handout]