An Atlanta teen accused of shooting and killing a father who attended a wedding in Brookhaven earlier this month apparently had a history of legal trouble. He was given a second chance to avoid prison, but instead, somehow slipped through the cracks and had the freedom to reportedly commit additional crimes.
WSB-TV reports that 17-year-old Jayden Myrick is charged with the murder of Christian Broder, 34, a Washington restaurant manager who arrived in Atlanta earlier this month to attend a friend’s wedding at the Capital City Country Club in the Brookhaven area of Atlanta.
While Broder stood with family and friends outside, waiting on an Uber ride after the wedding, Myrick allegedly approached the group and robbed them. According to police, he then shot and killed Broder before fleeing with another person in a previously-stolen car.
Court documents indicate that Myrick is a repeat offender who had already been convicted of armed robbery, probation violation, and numerous altercations at a juvenile detention facility. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs allowed Myrick a fresh start under a rehabilitation program called Visions Unlimited. The program provides services to juveniles that helps them obtain an education, counseling, and additional services that are supposed to keep them out of trouble.
Part of the program also entails keeping tabs on the juvenile offender to ensure public safety. Yet, the state pulled the strings on the Visions Unlimited program eight years ago due to financial issues, which eventually led to Atlanta Public Schools dropping support. Although the program still offers services, it’s not a residential program and it’s now self-funded. Without a residential program in place, Myrick went back to his family’s home in Southwest Atlanta, where he wasn’t under constant supervision by the program.
Regardless, a Fulton County judge still ordered Myrick into an unlicensed program that lost funding in 2010. When WSB-TV sought answers, a Fulton County’s chief judge indicated that the courts “appropriately rely on representations of sworn officer such as defense counsel” when making decisions on which programs to put juvenile offenders in.
According to Leonard Dungee, however, United Visions’ Chief Operating Officer, Downs was “fully aware” that the program did not offer residential services when she ordered Myrick to join, 11Alive reports.
“Myrick attended the program daily. He was gainfully employed,” Dungee said. “Let’s keep in mind, he is 17 years old. Who is responsible for the first 17 years of his life? We got him after he committed a crime.”
“All we did is to help him get a GED and help him get a diploma. He was under my supervision when he was with me, and when he was with me he wasn’t committing any crimes.”
Further, court records indicate that Downs ordered Myrick to live with Gwendolyn Sands, a former teacher and Dungee’s mother, who funds he the program with her own money. Court documents also indicate Myrick was to have around-the-clock supervision.
Dungee reiterated that his program did not offer residential treatment and that Downs only ordered Myrick to attend the program, not live Sands, despite court records indicating otherwise.
“No, the judge’s order, check the booking. The judge’s orders were to attend the program not to live with Ms. Sands.”
The question remains why a court would order Myrick into a program that clearly didn’t offer residential services after losing funding.
Downs replied with a public statement that indicated Visions Unlimited, not the court, is responsible.
The Superior Court does not maintain a roster of external community organizations or agencies or provide financial support for any such program. It also does not directly supervise a defendant’s participation in such programs. That is the role of the State Department of Community Supervision, commonly known as the Probation Department. The Probation Department has the responsibility of bringing to the Court’s attention any non-compliance with conditions of probation, to include failure to participate in a private provider’s program.
Myrick’s Latest Crime
As CrimeOnline previously reported, as Broder and a group of friends and family members left a wedding reception at the Capital City Country Club in Brookhaven on July 8, Myrick allegedly approached them at around midnight, at 53 West Brookhaven Drive. The group had been waiting on an Uber ride, standing outside when the incident occurred.
Another suspect waited inside a car, a car that police said was involved in a car jacking in Forest Park a few days prior. The suspect who exited the car approached the group and demanded their belongings. The victims handed over cash, cellphones, and wallets.
As the suspect was leaving, Broder tried to approach him. The suspect shot the victim in the abdomen area, then fled with the man in the awaiting car. Authorities indicated that the getaway vehicle was stolen on July 6 in the Forest Park area of metro Atlanta. The witnesses indicated the getaway car was a grey or white Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger.
“From what I understand, Christian said something to the effect of, ‘Are you sure you want to do this … Why are you doing this?’” Bo Blair, Broder’s brother-in-law, told NBC Washington. “And the guy just absolutely flipped out and said, ‘So you want to die over this,’ and shot him point blank in the stomach and then got back in the car and left.”
Broder died at a D.C. hospital after being airlifted and transferred from an Atlanta hospital.
Authorities arrested Myrick two days after they released surveillance footage of a man walking out of a convenience store. Myrick was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Police indicated that although they thought the person caught on surveillance at the store was Myrick, they no longer believe that to be true. The teen suspect is now facing homicide charges.
Broder is survived by his infant daughter and his wife, a pre-kindergarten teacher.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout; Christian Broder/GoFundMe]