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3 Teens Accused of Burning Youth

July 18, 2002

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MIDLAND, Texas (AP) _ Three teenagers were charged with dousing a youth with lighter fluid and setting him on fire in a videotaped stunt, and officials said the victim appeared to have taken part voluntarily.

Jonathan Perry, 17, was in critical condition Thursday with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. The video was shot Sunday.

Sheriff Gary Painter said Perry apparently cooperated in the burning, but he said the three teenagers could still be prosecuted.

``A person can’t give someone consent to violate the law,″ Painter said.

Casey Tim Owens, 18, and Eva Marie Cedillo and Monroe Rathbone, both 17, were charged Wednesday with aggravated assault and released on $5,000 bail.

Painter said someone on the tape mentions ``Jackass,″ the MTV program featuring a series of strange and dangerous stunts.

``I can’t say for sure they were referring to that show, but they were simulating things that are done on that show,″ he said Thursday.

Several young people have been seriously injured trying to copy stunts on the show, prompting MTV to move it to a later time slot and run disclaimers. Telephone calls placed to MTV’s New York offices weren’t immediately returned Thursday.

Update hourly