SPRING, Texas – Two white teenagers severely beat and sodomized a 16-year-old Hispanic boy who they believed had tried to kiss a 12-year-old girl at a party, authorities said.
The attackers forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a plastic pipe, shouting anti-Hispanic epithets, said sheriff's Lt. John Martin.
He was in critical condition Thursday, five days after the attack.
Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent said the attackers also cut the victim with a knife. They then poured bleach over the boy, apparently to destroy DNA evidence, and left him for dead, authorities said. He was not discovered until Sunday, 12 hours after the attack.
The victim, whose name was not released, suffered severe internal injuries, cuts on his chest and head injuries.
"It's about 50-50 whether he lives or dies at this point," Trent said.
Investigators said no adults were supervising the party, where they found evidence of the use of marijuana and the sedative Xanax.
Keith Robert Turner, 17, and David Henry Tuck, 18, were charged with aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum of five years to life in prison, investigators said. Prosecutors were considering whether to add hate-crime charges.
"Whether it is one or isn't a hate crime, and it may be, that will make no difference here," Trent said. "This is already a first-degree felony and it can't be elevated any higher. There's nowhere to go beyond this, unless the victim dies."
If the boy dies and it is ruled a hate crime, Tuck could face the death penalty, authorities said. Turner would be too young to face execution.
Next-door neighbor Nancy Benavides said teens frequent the house where the attack took place but they were never loud. She said she didn't hear anything unusual Saturday night, including the attack.
"I feel bad. I wish I would have been able to hear something so we could have helped," she said.
Sheriff's Lt. John Denholm said investigators believe the attack was prompted by the age difference between the 12-year-old girl and the 16-year-old boy.
"The two suspects were being mean and vicious and looking for any excuse to stomp somebody," he said.
Denholm said the 12-year-old girl and her older brother witnessed the attack, but made no effort to stop it.
Turner was jailed on $100,000 bail and was waiting to make his initial court appearance. Tuck's bail was initially set at $20,000, but it was revoked Thursday. He was being held in the Harris County Jail.
Charles Hinton, Tuck's attorney, did not return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment. It was not immediately known if Turner had an attorney.
Spring is a middle-class, largely white suburb of 36,000 residents, about 10 miles north of the Houston city line. The town's population is about 18 percent Hispanic.