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Whistnant's Attackers Won't Likely Face Murder Charges
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 6, 2003

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT--An enlarged heart and diabetes -- not an attack by five youths -- caused the April 5 death of Ricky Whistnant, a medical examiner's report revealed Thursday.

That means that the five boys, ages 12 through 14, will probably not face murder charges, Hartford police said.

Whistnant, 39, died after the group brutally beat him in the lobby of his apartment building located in a high-crime area of the city. One attacker allegedly struck Whistnant's head so hard with a full soda pop bottle it caused the man's to fall sideways and hit his head on a wall as he collapsed.

Three of the boys who are 14 years of age face assault charges as adults. The other two are charged in juvenile court.

Whistnant had lived in his own apartment after moving out of Southbury Training School, the institution housing people with mental retardation where he had spent more than half of his life. According to the Hartford Courant, Whistnant was often placed in restraints and was heavily medicated while at Southbury for an unidentified mental illness.

In 2000, Whistnant won the Peter Kirsche Award for Self Advocacy from The Arc/Connecticut Inc.

Neighbors in Hartford said that Whistnant considered himself a crime-fighter. Calling himself "Batman", Whistnant would often stand on the street corner, dressed in a homemade costume, and shout at drug dealers, they said.

Whistnant's family members say they want to know why a state Department of Mental Retardation contractor placed Whistnant in the neighborhood that had the city's highest number of crime reports last year.

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