3 teens suspected in fatal beating of homeless manThree teen-agers each face a second-degree murder charge after the beating death of a homeless man in Lakeland.
Joseph Ruba, 52, was riding his bicycle past a restaurant and exchanged words with 18-year-old Christopher Decatur, who was sitting on picnic tables with a group of friends.
"Apparently, it went from verbal to physical," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said. "He (Ruba) was beaten pretty badly."
The incident left those who witnessed it shaken. Genesis Feagle, 19, looked out her window when her dog began barking and saw a group of people behind the restaurant beating and kicking a person on the ground, she said.
Feagle and two friends ran toward the group. "We yelled, 'We called the cops,'" she said. "They completely scattered."
Only Ruba remained, bloodied, slumped over and leaning on a fence. By the time deputies and emergency workers arrived, Ruba was dead.
Christopher Decatur, Cody Osborne, 15, and Shawn Casey Whitten, 17, are accused of the beating.
Read The Ledger report here.