Owner charged in teen's tree-cutting death
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- The owner of a Putnam County tree service is now charged in relation to the death of a teen killed in Clay County.
Jimmy Bryant, 14, was killed trimming a tree at a home in Middleburg. Investigators say his safety harness was severed when part of the tree fell over. Bryant was about 50 feet off the ground at the time.
Clay County deputies charged Jonathan Wilkes with aggravated manslaughter. Investigators said Bryant's death was the result of "gross and culpable negligence" on the part of Wilkes. Florida's child labor laws require people in this line of work to be at least 18 years of age. Also under Florida law, kids under the age of 14 are not permitted to use power equipment like chainsaws. According to the report, Wilkes believed Bryant to be 16.
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