Teenagers, Racism And a Brutal Attack

In Texas, David Tuck got a life sentence for assaulting another teenager. He testified at a second attacker's trial last month.
In Texas, David Tuck got a life sentence for assaulting another teenager. He testified at a second attacker's trial last month. (By Michael Stravato -- Associated Press)

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By Monica Rhor
Associated Press
Sunday, January 7, 2007

SPRING, Tex. -- David Tuck had been spitting anger since he was a second-grader, jabbing at a neighbor's Doberman with a knife and striking out at other children with random fury.

By the time he turned 18, Tuck was a fully charged explosive, in danger of going off at the slightest touch. His head was shaved, his body was etched with Nazi tattoos, and his music blared hatred for blacks and Jews. He had three racially motivated assaults on his record, at least one against a Latino.

Many who knew him stayed out of his line of fire. But that warning did not reach a Hispanic teenager from the same northern Houston suburb.

On a warm weekend in April, their lives collided.

The night began with a party and ended with one teenager laying beaten, bleeding and close to death, the other splattered with blood and charged with aggravated sexual assault.

One would emerge battered but resolved to retrieve his dreams for the future; the other would face a lifetime behind bars.

"I've handled many, many bad cases, many, many important cases, but I don't think I've dealt with one where they tortured anyone quite as badly as this one," said Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent. "They violated him in the most brutal way possible."

* * *

Harris County sheriff's investigators arrived at a two-story house in Spring to find a barely conscious 17-year-old boy slumped at the kitchen table. His face and body were so swollen from repeated blows that he was unrecognizable.

They also found Tuck, loitering at the scene, his clothes and boots stained with fresh blood.

Gus Sons, the homeowner's son, told police that he and the victim met Tuck and another teenager, Keith Turner, at the town's annual Texas Crawfish and Music Festival the night before. Sons knew Turner and Tuck, but the other teenager did not.

The four went to Sons's house to drink vodka, snort cocaine, smoke marijuana and take Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety drug. Then, Sons's 12-year-old sister, Danielle, told the boys that the Hispanic teenager had tried to kiss her.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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