Poplar Bluff, MO: Fifteen-year-old Walter Currie Jr. was doused with gasoline, and then set on fire by a sixteen-year-old classmate. The attack occurred on June 13 in Poplar Bluff, a small Missouri town about 125 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis Post Dispatch story.
Walter and his family say they believe this attack was racially motivated. The sixteen year old who was arrested for the attack on Walter has been released from jail. The juvenile court in Butler County has requested that the alleged assailant be tried as an adult, where he would face felony assault charges. No hate crime charges have been filed.
Walter spent nine days in the burn unit of a St. Louis hospital. He is is expected to recover, but he faces years of treatment and multiple surgeries. His mother Winona Currie says, “Physically, he’s doing well, but I’m worried about his spirit.”
Walter’s uncle, Pastor Gregory Nichols, spoke to the media in Kansas City about the incident because he and the family did not want the crime swept under the rug.
“Walter needs to know, in a struggle like this,
you’re never alone.”
–Pastor Gregory Nichols
Please leave a message of support for Walter in the comments field below. You can also email us with a message and we will send it on to the Currie family. Pastor Nichols has also set up a blog for news about the case.
Winona Currie and Walter Currie, Sr. are not only struggling to support a child who is physically and emotionally traumatized, but they also had to hire an attorney to represent their son. Nearly a month after the attack, charges were filed against Walter for an earlier altercation involving the youth who attacked him.
Pastor Nichols is worried that justice will not be served in this case, and that the young men who attacked his nephew will not be punished. “I fear as much for the perpetrator as I do for my nephew. I fear what will grow in his heart and his spirit. If he gets away with this, what’s to stop him next time?”
The Currie family is hopeful that the good people in the community will come forward and support them in their quest for justice.
Please leave a message of support for Walter in the comments below.