Gwinnett County

Mom of teen accused of killing grandparents says she never saw it coming

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A 17-year-old accused of killing her grandparents faced a Gwinnett County judge for the first time on Friday.

Cassandra Bjorge had been in the hospital for days after police said the teen and her boyfriend, Johnny Rider, tried to kill themselves as a SWAT team surrounded them.

Johnny Rider, 19

Wendy and Randall Bjorge were found dead Saturday in their home in Lawrenceville. Authorities said the couple suffered blunt-force trauma and sharp-force injuries.

In court, the judge denied bond for Bjorge.

“Alright Ms. Bjorge you are charged with two felony warrants for murder and two felony warrants for aggravated assault. You have no bond on the murder charges only a superior court judge can consider,” the judge said.

Cassandra Bjorge

Channel 2's Nicole Carr spoke with Bjorge's mother, Amanda Sterling. Her parents are the ones her daughter is accused of killing.

"Not in a million years did I think something like this would ever happen," Sterling said.

Warrants indicate that a tire iron was used to beat the grandparents before they were stabbed to death.

"Nobody knew it would ever get to this," Sterling's attorney Alex Manning said. "It's, in the true sense, a tragedy."


Sterling and Manning say Bjorge had a long juvenile court history. She dropped out of school and was put on probation in February. They say Bjorge's long-term behavioral issues led to her grandparents taking custody. The family tried to remove her from a bad crowd in Duluth to stability with her grandparents in Lawrenceville.

"A girl trying to live life larger than the means that she could handle and it got away from her in a bad way and in a hurry," attorney Kyle Coester said.

Before their murders, there were at least 13 calls to police from the home and an assault charge for Bjorge striking a grandparent.

Sterling says she wasn't informed of all the recent trouble.

"Do not judge my client and the way she mothers by the actions of Cassie because she is a good mother," Manning said.

Sterling's brother was in court Friday. He told Channel 2's Audrey Washington he was too upset to talk on camera, but released a statement exclusively to her.

“We are all upset and hurt by this devastating loss. My mother and father were both kind and gentle people who loved to help others,” Christopher Bjorge said.

Bjorge’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 21.