homeless people beaten for "fun" in Clearwater, Florida FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 21 Jun 1998 21:17:07 -0700 (PDT)

3 FORWARDED ARTICLES about recent "troll bashing" in Clearwater, Florida.

CLEARWATER, FL -- Darkness once was a friend to Arthur Calhoun, a way to
hide and get some rest in places only the homeless know.

Now, the cover of darkness brings fear to him and other Clearwater homeless
men. As he sat in Ed Wright Park on Thursday afternoon and considered
spending the night in a shelter, blood trickled down Calhoun's forehead and
dried above his closed right eye, which resembled a plum. Staples stitched a
gash in his head, and blood seeped from his ears.

The 61-year-old man is one of seven attacked by one or more roving gangs in
Clearwater since Monday night. Five victims are street people, and one
carried a backpack that made it appear as if he may have been a transient.

The attackers used their fists, clubs and bottles. Some of the victims,
including Calhoun, have been beaten unconscious. One was in good condition
Thursday at Morton Plant Hospital with a fractured skull, jaw injuries and
multiple cuts and bruises.

Although some victims were robbed, detectives say the attacks were done for

"That was the main reason," said Clearwater Detective John Diebel. "They
were just beating people up because they thought it was fun. They were bored
and wanted something to do. Usually anybody out late at night they would

By Thursday afternoon, detectives had made one arrest and expected to make
several more.

Christian D. Hicks, 17, of 485 Poinsettia Road in Belleair, was arrested and
charged with aggravated battery and robbery. He was being held at Pinellas
County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail.

Hicks was ruled an adult in an earlier case that resulted in two years of
probation for conspiracy and felonious possession of a firearm. He is
accused of beating and robbing Eddie Wood, 33, as Wood slept early Thursday
on a bench near the main Clearwater public library. Wood was hospitalized.

Diebel said the attack on Wood was the latest by a gang that has beaten a
man on Clearwater Beach, one in Coachman Park and another on S Missouri

"They call themselves a gang, but what's going on isn't gang-related," he
said. "They are supposedly part of the Bloods gang."

The gang's members are white, 16 to 20 years old, usually wear white tank
tops and have been seen in a dark blue car. Diebel said it's possible
another group is responsible for attacks on Calhoun and two other homeless
men in and around Ed Wright Park.

Calhoun knows about the city's new homeless shelter downtown, but after 11
years of living on the streets usually prefers to find his own shelter where
he can enjoy a drink. He said he was "a little drunk" when three men jumped
him from behind about 2 a.m. Thursday.

He was riding his tricycle and towing a homemade trailer near the Clearwater
Municipal Cemetery north of Ed Wright Park, where he spends his days.

"I didn't hear them coming," Calhoun said. "They hit me in the head and
knocked me off my bike and beat on me. I grabbed my walking stick and swung
at one of them, but they were young and fast. They jumped the fence and went
into the cemetery."

Bleeding badly, he climbed back on his tricycle and rode toward Morton Plant
Hospital. The three men in white T-shirts attacked from behind again at the
next corner.

"They hit me with sticks, tree limbs," Calhoun said. "That's what happened
to my eye. They reached in my basket and took my wallet with all my ID and
about $5. Then they took off."

He lay on the ground for a while and then rode to the hospital emergency
room for treatment before returning to the park. Changing clothes, Calhoun
put his blood-soaked shorts and shirt to soak in a bucket of water on his
tricycle's trailer and perched on a bench in the shade. He moved slowly,

In the six years he has lived in Clearwater, nothing like the attack has
ever happened to him. He knew about an earlier beating of another homeless
man at the park, but was unprepared for it to happen to him. Now Calhoun
carries a knife.

"You can't lay down or they'll really get you," Calhoun said. "This didn't
have to happen. I drink some, but I mind my own business and don't cause
anybody any problems."


FWD  Tampa Tribune - June 5, 1998

CLEARWATER - A Belleair teenager was arrested Thursday in the beating of a
homeless man.

Christian Hicks, 17, of 485 Poinsettia Road was charged with strong-armed
robbery and aggravated battery, Clearwater Detective John Diebel said.

Diebel said Hicks and others bailed out of a car at the Clearwater library,
100 N. Osceola Ave., where 23-year-old Eddie Wood was sleeping on a bench
about 1:40 a.m. Thursday. Hicks and the others kicked and punched Wood,
fracturing his skull, Diebel said.

Wood was in stable condition at Morton Plant Hospital, a hospital
spokeswoman said.

Over the last couple of months, seven transients - or people who appear to
be transient - have been attacked. Thursday's was the most severe. Police
are searching for the other suspects.


FWD  St. Petersburg Times - June 9, 1998


     By Jane Meinhardt

CLEARWATER -- Detectives rounded up two more teenagers Monday wanted for
attacks on homeless people who were beaten and robbed.

The arrests bring to four the number of youths charged in last week's
assaults, which left one man hospitalized.

Steven J. Stadtmuller, 18, of 13333 Ridge Road in Largo, was charged with
two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of strong-arm robbery. He
was in Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Also arrested was Trevor Boutwell, 16, of 11300 66th St. N near Pinellas
Park. Charged with two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of
strong-arm robbery, he was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Both are accused of accosting a man asleep early Thursday in Coachman Park
near the main Clearwater library. His wallet and identification were stolen
after he was kicked and beaten with fists.

Boutwell and Stadtmuller also are charged with a similar assault Thursday
on a man wearing a backpack and walking along Bay Esplanade on Clearwater

Clearwater Detective John Diebel said the two arrested Monday were at
Stadtmuller's apartment. They may be associated with members of a Largo
street gang.

Christian Hicks, 17, of Belleair, who authorities say is a major figure in
the Largo Bloods gang, was arrested Thursday in connection with the two

Another Largo Bloods member, Brian W. Combs, 17, of Largo, was arrested
Friday night. He is charged with participating in the Coachman Park attack.

Several other homeless men were beaten and robbed last week in and around
Ed Wright Park on S Greenwood Avenue. Diebel said those attacks probably
involved another group.

Diebel said the attacks were done for "fun."

Although the four arrested are gang members or associates, detectives say
the attacks were not gang-related or part of an initiation.


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