News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Over 20 GBI agents blanketed the Augusta Youth Development Campus Tuesday along with DJJ investigators.
They were questioning every youth and staff member who may have information on 19-year-old inmate Jade Holder's homicide investigation or any other crimes inside the facility.
The YDC's captain of security, Victor Martin, was officially terminated this week. Martin is the eighth person who has been fired since Holder's death in November.
Martin was first placed on suspension on the same week of Holder's beating, even though he was not on duty at the time of the attack.
During his 45-day suspension, Martin was at home and under investigation for alleged employee misconduct.
"Hold me accountable for this youth dying -- I can live with that. I can live with being accountable for my job not being done completely," he said. "Don't hold me accountable for a lie."
Martin says he was terminated because his state-issued cellphone number was found on a youth's contraband cellphone.
"If they can prove that I did anything or brought anything to the youth, I hope that they arrested me. I should be treated like a common criminal just like anyone else that ever brought anything into those youth," Martin said. "I should go to jail."
But based on the DJJ's own records, employees are being fired for multiple alleged criminal infractions. However, few are being charged with crimes.
Since News 12's investigation into the YDC began in November, two employees, including the recreational director, have been terminated for alleged sexual relationships with inmates. Others, including Martin, are in trouble for contraband allegations.
"The lack of accountability is what I'm talking about," he said. "I think the only way to stop it is if people see these people going to jail. They should call them to the facility and arrest them."
News 12 took these questions to DJJ Commissioner Gale Buckner.
"I cannot answer Mr. Martin's accusations and cannot comment on that based on broad ongoing criminal investigations," she replied.
The DJJ found a staffing problem and a 52 percent turnover rate.
"So who's in control here? The youth of the officers?" News 12's Lynnsey Garder asked Martin.
"Apparently the youth -- it was supposed to be the officers, but when you are outnumbered 120 to 15, there is no control," he said.
Buckner maintains there are a lot of good employees still working. Martin agrees, both only that 95 percent are good employees.
"That last 5 percent should be in jail because you have some dirt out there that should be swept out the door," Martin said.
Even as the captain, he and all the officers were not armed.
Martin explained they could do very little to punish the youth known to cause trouble inside YDC walls.
"As far as the due process, I think it's a joke," he said. "You can hold a kid in detention 72 hours only even if he's a major threat to the safety an security of the campus. It's a joke."