St. Louis ‘Knockout Game’ Victim Enraged that Suspects Walked Free

Jennifer Mann, STL Today, January 12, 2012

The middle-schoolers were looking for a random person to beat up on Oct. 21, hoping to prove their mettle to a group of teens at Roosevelt High School who called themselves “TKO” or “The Knock Out” clan, police say.

They found their victim in Matt Quain, kicking and punching him in the face, breaking his jaw and knocking him down on South Grand Boulevard before walking off.

The 13-year-old girl who relayed this to police became the key witness against seven juveniles, ages 12-14, all from Fanning Middle School. But at the last minute before trial this week, she failed to show up, and the case fell apart, as was first reported Wednesday on

The witness has refused to cooperate any further, forcing prosecutors to drop the second-degree assault charges against the six boys and one girl, court spokesman Matt Murphy confirmed. {snip}

Mayor Francis Slay and his bodyguard, a city police sergeant, happened by as the teens walked off after the attack. But they didn’t get a good look, nor did Quain, who was knocked unconscious.

“It’s disturbing,” said Quain, 52, of St. Louis, who is still recovering from the attack. “They got away with it. Our case just didn’t hold water.”

The adjudication hearing Monday in which the girl failed to show was the equivalent of a trial in adult court. Afterward, the teen defendants, who had been held in detention until then, were free to go.

Quain said that during the hearing, the teens “were looking me over like I was a piece of meat.” Afterward, he watched as they celebrated in the hallway outside the courtroom. “They were cheering and high-fiving,” Quain said. “It was like a big game to them.”


The “knockout game” involves random, unprovoked attacks on unsuspecting victims, usually by teens who have no discernible motive other than to beat someone up. The Oct. 21 attack was one of seven cases last year that police identified as being motivated by the “game.”


Slay, who said he was “very disappointed and angry” about the case being dismissed, echoed O’Sullivan’s sentiments.

“I feel for the young girl,” Slay said. “I mean, clearly, she was intimidated (into) not testifying. We need to support witnesses like we support victims.”

Slay added: “The police know who these thugs are. They know where they go to school, and they know where they live. Neither I nor the police are going to forget about this.”


Matt Quain

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