Palm Beach police arrest Tequesta man in teen’s assault


A Tequesta man is out on bond after Palm Beach police charged him in connection with a December assault that left a West Palm Beach teen hospitalized for months.

Cameron Thompson, 19, is charged with one count of felony battery stemming from an incident that unfolded early Dec. 28 outside Cucina dell’Arte, 257 Royal Poinciana Way, according to a police report.

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Clayton “Clay” Stewart Kelly, 18, was found by police at 2:20 a.m. lying on his back and bleeding out of his mouth in the restaurant’s rear parking lot. He was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center and later to St. Mary’s Medical Center “due to a traumatic brain injury,” the report said.

He was moved Dec. 31 to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. Dr. John Ragheb, who treated Kelly, told investigators that when Kelly got to the hospital, he wouldn’t open his eyes and didn’t respond to pain, according to the report.

Doctors tried to control the pressure in his brain, but Kelly will “sustain some permanent injury to his cognitive or neurological function,” the report stated. “When asked if Clayton would be the same person he was prior to this incident, Dr. Ragheb stated ‘he would not.’ ”

Several friends of both Kelly and Thompson told police they saw Thompson punch Kelly in the jaw, causing him to fall backward and hit his head, according to the report. One friend told a detective he heard Kelly say “ow” and decided to call 911 when he noticed Kelly was “twitching oddly” on the ground, the report said.

About six minutes after police and paramedics arrived, Thompson got in an Uber with two other people at the corner of Royal Poinciana Way and Cocoanut Row, according to the report.

The report said friends told detectives the altercation stemmed from a disagreement between the two about something that happened the week prior, though the report didn’t say what happened.

Jail records show Thompson was arrested early Thursday and was released on $10,000 bond shortly before 2 p.m. the same day. During his first appearance in court Thursday, Thompson was ordered not to have weapons or contact with Kelly, according to court records.

A judge also allowed Thompson to attend school in Tallahassee, though it was unclear where he is a student.

Thompson’s next court appearance is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 17. A phone call to his home went unanswered Friday.

Douglas Duncan, a West Palm Beach attorney representing Thompson, said in an email Friday that Thompson entered a plea of not guilty and “denies any wrongdoing.” He declined to comment further.

As of Friday afternoon, court records did not reflect a plea from Thompson.

Kelly is being treated at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, a facility that specializes in spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation, according to a Caring Bridge web page set up by a family friend. 

Jana Stewart Kelly, Clayton Kelly’s mother, and Briggs Kilborne, the family friend who is managing the Caring Bridge web page, previously declined to comment and could not be reached by phone Friday.



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