April 17th, 2006

Latino Teen Beaten, Sexually Assaulted in Texas for Trying to Kiss White Girl

On April 22, 2006, David Ritcheson, a 16-year-old Latino boy, was attacked by two white teenagers, David Tuck and Keith Turner, at a house party in Spring, Texas. After Ritcheson allegedly tried to kiss a white girl at the party, Tuck and Turner knocked Ritcheson unconscious, dragged him outside, and beat him for approximately fifteen minutes while calling him a “beaner” and shouting “white power” and “Aryan nation.” The white teens then stripped Ritcheson naked, and Tuck cut Ritcheson's chest with a knife and burned his stomach and chest 17 times with a cigarette. Next, Turner placed a pole in Ritcheson's rectum and held it in place while Tuck kicked the end of the pole into Ritcheson's rectum. The two teens then poured bleach over Ritcheson's body.

At least two other white teenagers witnessed the beating but did nothing to help and later went to sleep in the house. The mother of one of the witnesses was home, but claimed she slept through the incident. Medical help was not summoned until hours after the attack, when a witness awoke and found Ritcheson still laying in the backyard.

After three months in the hospital and more than thirty surgeries, Ritcheson was able to return to school confined to a wheelchair and wearing a colostomy bag. On April 17, 2007, Ritcheson went public with his story and testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in favor of strengthening federal hate crime laws. “With my humiliation and emotional and physical scars came the ambition and strong sense of determination that brought out the natural fighter in me,” Ritcheson testified. “I am glad to tell you today that my best days still lay ahead of me.” Two and a half months later, Ritcheson committed suicide.

Both David Tuck and Keith Turner were prosecuted and convicted for assaulting Ritcheson. Tuck was sentenced to life in prison and Turner was sentenced to 90 years.