Teenager Visiting Pryor Beaten by Teens with Baseball Bats

Tuesday, November 16th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A teenager visiting his grandmother in Pryor is in the fight for his life after being attacked by two teenagers with aluminum baseball bats Friday night. Police say it happened following a pick-up basketball game. One witness says it was a case of mistaken identity.

18-year-old Justin Boyce says he was riding around Pryor Friday night with the teens accused of attacking the 16-year-old victim and chasing his friend. Boyce says they were looking for some other kids who had challenged them. He also says the out-of town teens didn't want to fight. “He said, “I don't want any part of this. I'm no part of this. I never wanted to fight you guys," recalled Boyce.

Prosecutors say the beating happened around midnight following a pickup basketball game at a Pryor elementary school. Mayes County assistant district attorney Becky Gore says the trouble started immediately after the older teens drove up. “The victim and his friend decided they might be in some trouble. They started to run and the defendents chased them down and struck the victims with the baseball bats," she said.

Prosecutors say 18-year-old Zach Vanbuskirk caught the 16-year-old and hit him in the head with an aluminum bat. The victim's friend got away. Gore says the blow knocked the boy unconsciousness. “It was pretty much the head blow that caused the most severe injury,” said Gore. She says 17-year-old Christopher Batman, struck the teen’s body with his bat three times.

Prosecutors say they're also investigating the role of the other teenagers in the car, including Boyce. Boyce says he couldn't have stopped it. “They were just trying to act hard,” he said. “Make a point where nobody would mess with them in this town."
Many residents say the beating has robbed Pryor of its small town innocence.

The victim was still listed in critical condition at a Tulsa hospital on Wednesday. Prosecutors say the last they heard, the boy had not regained consciousness. The accused attackers were in court Monday on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon.