First on 12: Juvenile arrested for murder of fellow inmate at Augusta YDC

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A 17-year-old is now in custody in connection to the murder of a 19-year-old inmate at the Richmond County Youth Development Campus.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has charged 17-year-old Michael Everidge of Augusta with the murder of Jade Holder. Everidge is in the custody of the Georgia Department of Corrections and will be tried as an adult.

Holder, 19, died Tuesday from blunt force trauma to the head. His autopsy results came back Thursday.

The attack happened around 9 p.m. Monday in unit 43 of the center.

An investigation into contraband in the facility is also underway after the allegations were brought forth in News 12's exclusive report Wednesday. A prison pastor and former YDC inmate told us that certain guards are supplying inmates with cigarettes, cell phones, liquor and marijuana.

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice says this is something they consistently look into.

"We always investigate contraband and continually refine techniques to detect it in all of our facilities," said the DJJ in an email.

When News 12 asked questions about specific personnel who were on duty that night or could have been involved in the incident, the DJJ declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

The DJJ also declined to comment on who runs the Augusta YDC on site.

"This is not to say that there is or was a violation of policy on this point but that we are reviewing everything from top to bottom," said the DJJ in the email.

Sources have told News 12 that the facility is understaffed and some officers work 15-to-20-hour shifts. The DJJ declined to comment on this as well.

The former inmate who News 12 spoke with said it was commonplace for doors to be left unlocked, allowing fights to take place in the facility.

News 12 asked if Holder's door was left unlocked that night.

"[We] decline comment due to the ongoing criminal investigation," said the DJJ.

When asked if unit 43 is where the more violent offenders are housed, the DJJ responded saying "discussing security measures is inappropriate." They did say the facility can hold up to 120 juveniles and currently holds 116.

This all comes as a new commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice was appointed Thursday. Gale Buckner will be sworn in on Monday, replacing Amy Howell.

"Commissioner Buckner is honored to be entrusted with the important role as commissioner. Her focus is on getting to the bottom of what happened at Augusta and keep it from happening again," said the DJJ in an email. "She is going to work with the governor to run a professional, safe and effective DJJ."

Buckner told News 12 Wednesday that 90 percent of the juvenile inmates at the YDC are felony offenders. She said they are being detained to uphold the general public's safety.


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