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Killer cites 'Bumfights' as influence

Published September 30, 2006

DAYTONA BEACH - One of several teenagers who beat a homeless man to death told a television interviewer he was influenced by videos featuring homeless people brawling and performing dangerous stunts.

Jeffery Spurgeon, 19, expressed remorse for the May 2005 killing in the interview to air Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes. Spurgeon is serving up to 35 years in a Jasper prison.

Spurgeon said he and the others beat Michael Roberts, a frail man of 53 who lived in the woods, "for fun." He said they were emulating scenes from "bum-rushing videos," according to the transcript. He mentioned Bumfights, a video series available online, as a favorite.

Roberts died after three separate attacks with sticks, fists and logs. Justin Stearns, 19, Christopher Scamahorn, 16, and Warren Messner, 17, also were convicted and are serving prison terms from 22 to 35 years. Phi Huynh, 16, the fifth alleged attacker, is awaiting trial.

The videos depict homeless men and women engaged in humiliating, self-destructive acts, including ripping out teeth and ramming themselves into doors.

The Bumfights Web site says the videos are satire, meant to call attention to the problems of poverty and violence.

[Last modified September 30, 2006, 01:54:30]

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