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Indictment in Beating Death at Georgia Youth Detention Center

Michael Everidge was indicted this week in the November beating death of an inmate at an Augusta, Ga. youth detention center. The Richmond County District Attorney brought felony murder charges against 17-year-old Everidge for the death of 19-year-old Jade Holder. Everidge was charged as an adult.

The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched a joint investigation in November after Holder was beaten in his cell at the YDC. He died in the hospital the next day. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

In a statement released Thursday, DOJ Commissioner Gale Buckner praised the efforts of the investigators.

"We thank the GBI for their unparalleled cooperation and the level of expertise they have brought to the field to help expedite this death investigation at DJJ's Augusta Youth Development Campus,” Buckner said.

Buckner also thanked the Richmond County DA.

“The Department of Juvenile Justice also commends the Richmond County District Attorney's Office,” she said, “for coordinating the results of this intensive investigation to a conclusion resulting in an indictment to bring justice to the murder of 19-year-old Jade Holder."

The joint investigation at the troubled Augusta Youth Development Campus has also lead to the firing of at least a dozen employees.

Firings and Contraband at Georgia’s Troubled Youth Detention Centers

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is wrapping up its criminal investigation at the state’s youth prison in Augusta and plans to present its findings to Richmond County prosecutors by mid-February.

The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is pulling together its own findings after unannounced visits to Augusta and the state’s 25 other jails and prisons for youth offenders in recent weeks, DJJ Commissioner Gale Buckner said Thursday. Those findings -- which have already led to disciplinary actions and policy changes -- have been shared with leadership at each institution and should be consolidated into a single report, also by mid-February, for Gov. Nathan Deal and DJJ board members.

“We’ve had a lot of personnel changes at Augusta, and it’s not over,”

Buckner told the DJJ board during a meeting of its members on Thursday.

At least a dozen staff members have already lost their jobs at Augusta in the aftermath of the Nov. 7 beating death of Jade Holder, 19, in his cell at the facility.  One employee, Marlon McCreary, was fired for allegedly leaving cell doors unlocked in the unit, which allowed the fatal assault to occur.

A 17-year-old youth has been charged with murder in the attack.

Firings of two more correctional officers at Augusta were announced Wednesday. Kenneth Payton was terminated for allegedly initiating a physical altercation with a youth in DJJ custody, and Dondale Stroman was dismissed for alleged improper use of physical intervention techniques.

Twenty GBI agents descended on the Augusta campus Tuesday, starting at 5 a.m., to re-interview staff members one last time and allow workers to volunteer any additional information they might have.


This hand-written business plan, developed by  one Georgia inmate, proves the American tradition of entrepreneurship is alive and well, even behind bars. 

 

Contraband taken during the announced visits was on display today at DJJ’s board meeting. Seized items included cigarettes, drugs, DVDs, homemade weapons and gang-associated writings and drawings.

One hand-written sheet looked much like a rudimentary business plan for selling cigarettes inside a youth prison, including statistics on the percentage of boys and girls who smoke and estimates of unit sales (5,760 packs per year) and projected revenue over five years ($90,000) and 10 years ($180,000).

DJJ this week advertised for applicants for the director’s job at the Augusta YDC and hopes to hire one by March 2, when interim director Gary Jones returns to his job as police chief of Sardis, Ga.

Gov. Deal appointed Jones to run the Augusta YDC for 90 days in early December when former director John Brady was fired.

 

Photos: Jim Walls

Employee Misconduct and Violence High At Augusta Georgia Youth Detention Facility

Razor wire fence borders the Metro Regional Youth Detention center in Atlanta, Ga. JJIE Staff, 2010. File photo.The Augusta, Ga., youth detention facility where a 19-year-old inmate was beaten in November and subsequently died ranks second among Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities in employee misconduct, contraband and altercations between youth and staff.

Only the Eastman YDC, according to reports obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, surpassed the Youth Development Campus (YDC) in Augusta.

Jade Holder was severely beaten in his cell in Unit 43 of the Augusta YDC Nov. 7. He was pronounced brain dead at the hospital and died the following day.

One guard at the facility was fired in connection with Holder’s murder. Marlon McCreary, Sr., was dismissed for “failure to lock the doors to the rooms of the resident in Unit 43.”

Two other employees, a guard and a captain, were suspended following Holder’s death. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began a criminal investigation into Holder’s death at the request of the DJJ. The DJJ is running its own administrative investigation.

Michael Everidge, a 17-year-old youth at the Augusta facility, was charged with Holder’s murder. A preliminary hearing for Everidge was continued Friday.

Everidge’s mother says her son claims he did not kill Holder.

"I mean, you got to understand there are more boys involved in this from what my son is saying," Keiondra Everidge told Augusta’s News 12. "There's more involved in this situation."

In the wake of Holder’s murder, Gov. Nathan Deal announced new leadership at the Augusta YDC. Gary Jones, chief of police in Sardis, Ga. will begin a special three-month assignment at the facility. According to a statement by the Governor’s Office, Jones will answer directly to new DJJ Commissioner Gale Buckner.

Photo by Clay Duda | JJIE.org

Teen Accused of Killing Cop Appears In Court

Bun

A Riverdale Ga. teen charged in the shooting death of a Clayton County sheriff's deputy has appeared in Clayton County Superior Court.

Investigators say Jonathan Bun has already confessed to killing Clayton County Sheriff's Deputy Rick Daly.

Daly, 55, was shot and killed after he pulled over a Honda Civic that Bun was riding in. He was attempting to take the 17-year-old into custody for a January armed robbery at a gift store in College Park. The teen then allegedly fled the scene, sparking a five-hour manhunt involving SWAT teams from dozens of area law enforcement agencies. Officers with search dogs later captured him in a wooded area.

Besides the armed robbery charge, Bun also is charged with one count each of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

During the 90-minute hearing GBI special agent Jonathan Spurlock reportedly testified that Bun had admitted during questioning that he shot Daly. He claims Bun called his mother and told her he was scared because he “just shot a cop."

Spurlock also said Bun told him that he had stolen the .40-caliber Glock handgun used to shoot Daly. According to testimony in court on Tuesday, Bun also pointed his weapon at a second deputy as he ran away, but the Glock apparently jammed.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson has recused herself from any involvement in the case because she had earlier been a juvenile court judge in cases involving Bun.

Congressional Earmarks Fund Georgia Programs for Kids; Future Earmarks in Jeopardy

The Justice Department has published the list of OJJDP congressional earmarks for the 2010 fiscal year.  Twenty-one programs in Georgia got funding for a total of $3.2 million.  Here are some of the largest awards along with congressional sponsors:

  • $500,000   City of Valdosta    Sponsors: Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • $300,000   Georgia Bureau of Investigation     Sponsor:  Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • $250,000    University of West Georgia    Sponsors:  Rep. Phil Gingrey(R-Marietta), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • $250,000    Rockdale County    Sponsors:  Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Lithonia), Rep. David Scott (D-Jonesboro), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • $250,000    Project Rebound, Inc.    Sponsor:  Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany)
  • $200,000    City of Moultrie Police Department    Sponsors:  Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • $150,000    Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, Inc.     Sponsor:  Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Earmarks may be on the endangered list next year, according to Youth Today, which tracks federal earmarks for youth projects.  Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tea Party supporters want a ban on earmarks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are also on board. President Obama wants to limit earmarks, and some congressional Democrats facing reelection in 2012 are under pressure to stop the practice.

Earmarks aren’t the only source of federal funding for juvenile justice projects. Another $2,480,463 in competitive grants also went to agencies based in Georgia. Here’s that list from OJJDP:

  • $349,969     Family drug court programs in Chatham County Juvenile Court
  • $300,000   GBI law enforcement strategies to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation
  • $409,390    Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at the GBI
  • $296,104     Juvenile Drug Courts and Mentoring Initiative in Columbus
  • $625,000     Young Adult Guidance Center, Inc. for the Second Chance Act Juvenile Mentoring Initiative
  • $500,000     The Center for Working Families, Inc. for Strategic Enhancement to Mentoring Programs

In addition, $42 million was allocated to the Boys and Girls Clubs for mentoring programs across the nation through their headquarters in Atlanta

Child Sex Crimes: New Arrests, More Money

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Decatur is getting a fresh infusion of money from the Justice Department to fight child prostitution and other forms of sex exploitation.  A 300- thousand dollar grant will go towards reaching children in trouble and arresting adults who exploit them, according to the Office of Justice Programs.

To emphasize the work that’s being done in the Atlanta area, federal prosecutors released new information about three men who were sentenced and four others arrested for child sex crimes, including these cases:

  • Former Baptist Minister Gregory Hunter, who got 18 years in prison for producing a pornographic webcast of a 9 year old girl.
  • Former doctor Adam Lebowitz, convicted of child porn and trying to entice a child to have sex
  • Michael Young and James Lampru,arrested at hotels where they arranged to have sex with a 12-year-old girl

Earlier this week, a 280 page report from Attorney General Eric Holder detailed a national strategy to fight child sex exploitation.

The GBI has received other grants to fight Atlanta’s child prostitution and pornography problems.  In 2009, the GBI got $1,438,937.00in Recovery Act funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  During the first half of last year, the ICAC made 96 arrests and helped local law enforcement with 60 cases.

Read more:

Project Safe Childhood

Internet Crimes against Children Task Force

News Release from Department of Justice