BAKERSFIELD — A teen-ager was fatally beaten with a shovel and buried in a pit by two companions who taunted him moments before his death about digging his own grave, authorities said.
"Wouldn't it suck if you were digging your own grave?" the two suspects allegedly asked Jason Corbin. Corbin reportedly laughed and agreed, according to Kern County Sheriff's Investigator Jim Christopherson.
The 16-year-old boy's body was found two days after the June 13 slaying. An autopsy showed he was beaten on the head, face and upper body and died of a skull fracture.
Sheriff's investigators have pieced together the slaying based on interviews with the suspects--Robert Santos Jr., 21, and a 15-year-old boy--and two 15-year-old girls who said they heard Corbin being murdered with a shovel and a lug wrench.
Santos and the 15-year-old have been charged with murder; investigators have not discussed a motive.
Authorities said the killing occurred when the group was in a field digging up a gun Santos had buried.
Santos allegedly asked one girl, "What would you do if we killed Jason?" The younger boy allegedly asked the other girl, "How would you feel if we bashed Jason's brains in?"
The girls told authorities the suspects told them to return to Corbin's nearby parked car. They said they heard them taunt Corbin as they beat him and heard Corbin moan. Then, they said, they heard nothing.
Santos told investigators that the 15-year-old boy started a fight with Corbin, and that he sat in the car as the teen-ager struck Corbin with a tire iron.
The teen-age suspect told authorities he takes medication for paranoid schizophrenia and manic depression but had not taken his pills for about a week before the slaying.
He told authorities that "voices from within" made him want to kill Corbin.
The girls told authorities that the two suspects threw the shovel in a hole and joked as they drove away that they heard Corbin talking from the grave.
The unidentified girls, who said they had been drinking beer and tequila with the suspects that night, have not been charged.