An 18-year-old man police say beat up a 16-year-old boy with autism in a brutal attack captured on video will not be charged with a hate crime but does face tougher new charges, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach.
Andrew Wheeler, 18, is accused of choking the teen unconscious at a house party earlier this month, beating him until he regained consciousness, threatening him with a knife and dragging him by his hair.
Wheeler now faces a new charge of aggravated child abuse, in addition to the child abuse charge he already faced, the Okeechobee County State Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.
Evadean Dailey, the woman police say hosted the party, has also been rearrested on three more child abuse charges, after having earlier been arrested on charges concerning the party.
She now faces charges of aggravated child abuse, child abuse and child neglect, in addition to the earlier charges of hosting an open house party and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
It's unknown if either have an attorney.
Police said the victim was at the party on August 8 when he was told to go outside to fight someone. When he refused, Wheeler was called over and began to beat him, the victim told police.
The victim told police Wheeler followed him outside, choked him until he lost consciousness and kept hitting him until he woke up. Wheeler then held a small knife to the victim's throat and ordered him to leave, the report said.
Video of the beating posted to Facebook that and shows a person police have identified as Wheeler punching and kneeing the victim, then dragging him across the floor by his hair. The victim, crying throughout the video, holds up his arms to cover his head.
Police found the victim after midnight lying in the street on Southwest 6th Street. He said he had been battered and forced to walk to that location. Police said he appeared intoxicated, was complaining of chest pains and had vomited on the street.
The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with a concussion, a sprained neck and bruises on his face and scalp, the police report said.
Wheeler, meanwhile, told police he had received a call from someone at the party saying there was a drunk person in her house who wouldn't leave. Wheeler said he went inside the house to help the teen before stepping outside to take a phone call. Wheeler said that when he went back inside, the teen was punching and pushing someone else.
Wheeler told police that when he tried to take the teen outside, the teen tried to hit Wheeler but missed. Wheeler told police that he lost his temper and struck back at the teen.
Wheeler’s bond was set at $100,000, while Dailey’s bond is $200,000. Prosecutors said more arrests are pending in the case.