JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Family and friends of three Atlantic Beach teenagers charged in a violent kidnapping and carjacking spoke Wednesday about the accusations.
Jacksonville Beach police say two 14-year-old boys -- Michael Potter and Brasean Johnson -- and a 15-year-old girl -- Destiny Monts -- held a man against his will earlier this month and forced him to drive around to ATMs to withdraw cash.
All three teens are in a juvenile detention center on charges of carjacking, strong arm robbery, kidnapping and illegal use of a credit card. Police said all of them confessed to the crimes.
Rashad Ohara, the brother of Monts, said she's been in trouble before, but nothing as serious as this.
"She's just been going through a lot lately, and she just needs some help and guidance," 19-year-old Ohara said.
He said his sister recently got out of jail for another incident, and her family thought she was getting back on the right track. Ohara said they find it hard to believe Monts is accused of such serious charges.
"That's not like her, my sister," he said. "So someone had to influence her."
"They threatened my life several times and said, 'If you try anything, I will kill you,'" the victim in the kidnapping and robbery said Tuesday. "They were intimidating even though they were young."
The victim, who doesn't want to be identified, told police he was violently beaten in the back seat of his own car by the three teens following the Springing the Blues Festival. He said the teens forced him to drive to a money machine to get cash, and he eventually escaped at a Beach Boulevard Walmart.
"If I said anything, they hit me," the victim said. "At one point along the way, I asked, 'What are you guys doing?' The driver was running the whole show and popped me in the face."
"Just to hear my neighbor's son, grandson did it, it's shocking," said a woman named Gail, a neighbor of one of the accused 14-year-old boys.
She said she never expected anything like this from her teen neighbor, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and 210 pounds. Police said the Mayport Middle School student was the ringleader in the violent assault.
"If they do the crime, why not do the time?" Gail said. "They will learn it doesn't matter if you're 13, 15 or 20."
"They don't have the fear of God, family or the elderly, and they have no respect for the older people. And that's sad," neighbor Cheryl Parks said.
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