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Local News

May 23, 2014

Konawa couple may face charges today in child abuse captured on video

Konawa — The Seminole County district attorney’s office is seeking more time to prepare charges against two Konawa residents who allegedly participated in the abuse of an 8-year-old boy and captured the assault on video.

The district attorney’s office was originally set to file charges against Joshua Whittington and Tracy Casteel by Wednesday but has received an extension, an office staffer said Thursday.  Whittington and Casteel are due back in court at 1 p.m. today for another hearing, when they may find out the nature of the charges.

The potential charges came to light last week, when someone posted a video depicting an assault on Whittington’s 8-year-old son. The video shows Casteel’s 15-year-old son taking a running jump several times and kicking the younger boy in the head.

The 8-year-old, who was wearing a football helmet during the assault, started crying after the second kick.

The video was posted on the social media site Instagram with the caption “what this kid will do for a piece of gum,” but it was later removed from the site.

Authorities believe that Whittington shot the video of the attack while Casteel looked on.

The victim, who did not appear to have serious injuries but was bruised on his neck and chest, was taken into state custody and placed with family members, Konawa Assistant Police Chief Jason Teel said last week. Two other children in the home were also placed with relatives.

Whittington, Casteel and the 15-year-old were arrested last Thursday. Following the arrests, the teenager was taken before a judge, who found probable cause for his detention.

It was not immediately clear Thursday when the teenager would be charged or whether he would be tried as an adult.

The teenager is being held without bond in an El Reno juvenile detention center, and the two adults are in custody in the Seminole County jail. Whittington’s bond has been set at $250,000, based on his criminal history and his alleged involvement in the abuse, and Casteel’s was set at $75,000.

Casteel’s bond was lower because she was less involved in the abuse and because she did not appear to have a criminal record.

According to Oklahoma District Court records, Whittington pleaded guilty in 2011 in Seminole County to knowingly concealing stolen property, which is a felony. Casteel only had a few traffic citations on her record.

Reach Eric Swanson at adanewsreporter@cableone.net.  

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