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Jury Awards $35M Teen’s Boot Camp Death

August 28, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ A jury awarded $35 million Wednesday to the parents of an 18-year-old who contracted a fatal case of pneumonia at a boot camp.

Bryan Alexander died in January 2001 of a penicillin-resistant form of pneumonia at a Fort Worth hospital, two days after being transported from the probationary camp in suburban Mansfield.

Former camp nurse Knyvett Reyes testified she treated Alexander for a cold, strep throat and flu. Witnesses said Alexander had been coughing up blood for days and that Reyes thought he was faking his illness.

Alexander was at the camp for a drunken driving conviction and had no prior criminal record.

Alexander’s parents filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Reyes and Correctional Services Corp., the Florida-based company that operated the now-defunct boot camp.

Reyes was convicted last summer of criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to four years’ community supervision.

In setting compensatory damages, the jury said Reyes and the company ignored Alexander’s pleas for help. Attorneys were expected to present more testimony Thursday to determine punitive damages.

Boot camp officials have previously said Alexander’s autopsy showed the facility provided proper care.

Tarrant County’s criminal court judges closed the boot camp in July 2001. The teen’s parents, Rickey Alexander and Judy Schumpert, are also suing the judges who oversaw the facility, as well as the probation department.

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