ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News is digging into records surrounding a community organization that was court-ordered to supervise an Atlanta teen who is now charged with murder.
Jayden Myrick, 17, is charged with the murder of 34-year-old Christian Broder, a popular Washington D.C., restaurant manager who police said Myrick shot and killed as Broder and friends awaited an Uber outside a Brookhaven country club wedding reception.
Myrick is a repeat juvenile offender. Last year, a judge agreed to allow Visions Unlimited, a juvenile rehabilitation service, to provide counseling, GED and other services rather than sending him back to jail.
It was Myrick's second chance, at the objection of prosecutors, after an armed robbery conviction and more than 30 troubling instances in juvenile detention, and a probation violation.
A string of financial issues led to the business license of Visions Unlimited being yanked by the state eight years ago. For lack of payment to employees, it also lost support of Atlanta Public Schools.
The question now is: Who should be held responsible for what led to Jayden Myrick's ability to get back on the streets and allegedly kill a man?
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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs ordered the teen to live with 71-year-old Gwendolyn Sands, the chief executive officer of Visions Unlimited.
"No, the judge's order, check the booking. The judge's orders were to attend the program not to live with Ms. Sands," said Leonard Dungee, Sands' son.
We told Dungee that we have those records. The question now is why the court ordered 24/7 care that the organization is not licensed to provide.
"There's nothing else we can do. We did what we said we were going to do, aside from this whole thing is coming from. You said it's coming from the judge, and I understand that," Dungee said.
The organization which touts helping hundreds of teens is unlicensed. State records show the financially strapped business folded in 2010. Dungee said his mother struggles to fund it out of her own pocket.
"We have been with the Fulton County courts for 12 years successfully," Dungee said.
Judge Downs, who is still involved in the case, declined an interview.
While Dungee claimed to forward progress reports to the courts and maintain good relationships with the judges, Fulton County's chief judge said they do not maintain records on the organizations and judges, "appropriately rely on representations of sworn officer such as defense counsel" to make service recommendations.
"In the words of Henry Ford, 'Let's not find fault. Let's find a remedy,'" Dungee said.
The chief judge also noted that the court does not provide funding for these rehab services.
Channel 2 Action News confirmed the Department of Community Services, also known as the state probation office, checked in regularly with Visions Unlimited, and those check-ins for Myrick were satisfactory, so there would not have been reason to raise a red flag to the courts.
DCS also confirmed the organization is not one of their licensed, state-approved housing providers.
Cox Media Group