Missouri Teenager Accused of Setting Boy on Fire

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SAVANNAH, Mo. — A 17-year-old St. Joseph, Mo., teenager was charged Monday with first-degree assault for allegedly pouring gasoline on a 13-year-old boy, setting him on fire and laughing as he burned, the St. Joseph News-Press reports.

The assault allegedly happened on Thursday, April 19.

The newspaper reports that according to the probable cause statement, Joseph D. Gardner had bullied the younger boy prior to this assault and threatened to kill him and his family if he told anyone.

The Andrew County Sheriff’s Department took the probable cause statement, which indicates the 13-year-old had first- and second-degree burns on his face and right arm. He also had burns in his nose and throat “from inhaling the flames.” The boy was treated at University of Kansas Hospital burn center in Kansas City, Kan., and has since been released.

Gardner tried to explain his actions Monday in court, but the judge advised him that anything he said could be used against him and ordered him to be quiet.

Gardner was being held Tuesday on $150,000 bond and has asked for a public defender, the Associated Press reports.  His next court appearance is scheduled for May 22.

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