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James McKinley Mutter
I was sent to the Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna, Florida 1956 and 1957. I was there a total of twenty two months. I was sent from Osceola County Florida for running away from home, skipping school and stealing a motor boat kicker.
I was at the school for about two weeks when James Banther and I ran into the field of the compound and was caught within an hour. We were brought back to R. W. Hatton's office at approx. 1:00 pm. Mr. Hatton had us in his office, each separately. He wanted to know which one of us had planned it, and I told him I did. He said, “James, after today you will never run away again. I promise you that today I will give you the worst beating of your life." Then he told me to go sit on the wooden bench outside and send James in. I told James what I had told Mr. Hatton before he went in. James was in the office for about 30 minutes.
Then James Banther, Mr. Hatton and the man that picked us up in the field came out of Hatton’s office, The took James Banthe to the White House for a beating. He instructed me to wait in his office until they came back, which was about 20 minutes later. Again they told me to remain on the bench. After sitting on the bench for about four hours, boys began walking by to go to the dining hall. They knew I was going to get the beating of my life, so I had to act as if I wasn't afraid.
Coach Zych came up to me and told me he had to go see Mr. Hatton and that I should prepare myself to go to the White House. Several minutes later Mr. Hatton and Mr. Zych came out of the office, grabbed me by my arms and took me to the White House. When we walked inside, I thought it looked like a dungeon I had seen on the movies. They told me to go to the first room on the left. When I walked inside I was scared to death. I was crying and begged them not to hurt me. Mr. Hatton told me to lie down on the cot and grab the rails at the top and dared me to let go of the metal rail. “I’m going to give you 100 licks and if you let go we will start all over from the beginning."
I took about 25 unbelievable licks before I couldn’t take anymore. I turned over and started to get up when Mr. Hatton hit me over the head with a club and blood flew everywhere. It felt like hot water running all over me. I forced my way up and he hit me in my testicals with his fist as hard as he could and I fell to the bed in a fetal position. Then he hit me on my knees several times and said "You'll never run again you son-of-a-bitch. Now, turn over on your stomach, you are going to get your 100 licks from day one". He told the coach to go over to the mess hall and get two of the strongest boys he could find and bring them back. When the coach left Hatton started beating me on my side and legs with the leather strap, I don't know how many times he hit me. By then I didn't care what they did to me. He told me to put my hands up on the posts and he secured them with leather ties so I couldn't move. Then he started beating me again with that leather strap. Mr. Zych and the two boys came in and he told them to hold my legs that I was a little more cooperative now. Before long, I passed out.
I woke up some time later in the Infirmary. I had ice packs around my testicals and stitches on my head. Blood covered the bed I was on. I was bleeding from my penis, knees, butt, back and my right side. The nurse came in the next morning with one of the inmates that worked at the hospital infirmary. The inmate began cleaning me up and I noticed he was crying. It took him nearly all day to clean up the bed and dress my wounds. They worked all day pulling pieces of my underwear out of my buttocks. Later that evening, Mr. Daffen, my cottage father, and Mr. Zych came to the infirmary. Mr. Daffen looked over at Mr. Zych and stated, “Oh my God, that Hatton went crazy in there".
I stayed in the infirmary for three days. The mother of the inmate that cleaned me up came up to visit him that next Sunday and took pictures of me to take to the Governor in Tallahassee.
Approximately six or eight weeks later Mr. Hatton called me to his office and he laid the pictures out on the desk in front of me and asked, "What in the damn hell are you trying to do? You come with me young man. He took me directly to the White House and almost beat me to death. I really thought he was going to kill me. He told me to lie down on the bed and hold the rails, this time and don't turn loose and I only received 25 very hard lashes. I guess, because of the former beatings, he might have felt he might kill me had he beat me any harder. But I did not turn loose of the bed rail this time. He told me never to tell anyone else that I was “spanked” at the White House.
From that day forward I never wanted to talk to anyone about it.
I have been known to have nightmares about that time along with headaches, lower back pain and many problems with my knees. Recently I underwent surgery having both knees replaced. I was never able to father children and often wondered if Mr. Hatton had taken that away from me after beating me between the legs.
I was in and out of trouble early on in life and I married six times. It has been very difficult dealing with that aspect of my childhood.