ATLANTA — The mother of two juveniles accused of killing a man outside a southwest Atlanta gas station says she’s been asking for help for her sons for years, but the courts keeping setting them free.
Charlie and Isaac McDaniel, ages 16 and 15, were arrested earlier this month for allegedly shooting and killing Anthony Brooks, 50, when he confronted them about recent car break-ins.
Days later, the teens’ mother arranged for them to surrender to police at their church.
“My kids are hurting and we are sorry for the Brooks family. We are so sorry for the Brooks family. My kids wants to reach out to the Brooks family to let them know that they are very remorseful,” the mother told Channel 2’s Mark Winne in an exclusive interview.
Brooks’ family said they believe the whole surrender was an act.
“That whole entire showing up at the church thing with a video camera and somebody giving it to the media, that was for show in my opinion,” Tawanna Brooks said.
In a news conference after the arrest, police said the McDaniel brothers have 30 prior arrests and 100 interactions with Atlanta police.
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The teens’ mother said she does not believe the state did its job when she sought mental help for her children after previous, serious encounters with juvenile court in Fulton and Cobb counties.
“If my kids would have got the help from the state due to their mental problems, my kids wouldn't have even been on the street for this to even happen, period,” she said.
Fulton County Juvenile Court Judge Willie J Lovett Jr. told Winne weeks before they were accused of murder, he had no legal choice but to rule the McDaniel brothers lacked the ability to assist in their own defense against serious juvenile charges.
He says in the adult system, they could have gone to a secure facility to address those issues, but Georgia lacks such a state facility for juveniles.
Monday afternoon, the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities said they are pursuing a contract for secure, inpatient treatment for juveniles who have ben deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. A juvenile court judge told Winne that will save lives.
“I have given my kids everything. I have tried to help from the top to the bottom,” their mom said.
She added that she does not blame the judge for the release of her sons to the community with treatment plans.
“They tried their very best,” she said.
A document alleges Brooks suggested publicly that the teens were car thieves, and that’s when Charlie McDaniel pushed him and brandished a gun. The document says Brooks then wrapped his arms around him and pushed him to a car driven by Isaac McDaniel, who shot Brooks. As Brooks tried to get away, the document says both teens shot him.
“It is too many guns out there,” the boys' mother said. “There’s more kids out here doing things and it’s still going on today.”