Staffers Sentenced in Boy’s Death

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Three former employees of a Louisiana youth residential treatment center received three years in prison for their role in the death of a 12-year-old boy at the facility.

District Court Judge Parker Self sentenced Anthony Combs, Kelton Greenard and Arthur Henderson III on Jan. 26 to five years at hard labor, with two years suspended for time served, in connection with the death of Alex Harris at Hope Youth Ranch, a faith-based nonprofit center for troubled boys near Minden, La.

Harris collapsed and died of heat stroke after being refused water and treatment during a punishment run on Sept. 13, 2005. Self convicted the men in October of negligent homicide and cruelty to a juvenile, charges that carry a maximum penalty of five years each.

“I have heard no remorse, and I’m going to make you put someone else above yourself,” Self told the men during sentencing, according to the Bossier (La.) Press-Tribune.

Eight employees at the facility were initially indicted in connection with Harris’ death, but charges against five of them were dismissed. Attorneys for Combs, Greenard and Henderson said the men “made a simple mistake anyone could have made,” the Press-Tribune reported. Greenard and Henderson appealed the convictions and sentences.

Hope Youth Ranch, which houses up to 30 boys, has retained its state license and remains in operation, according to the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice. Roy Martinez, the ministry administrator at Hope Youth Ranch, declined to comment on the sentencing, but said that none of the eight employees initially implicated in Harris’ death now works at the facility.