News 12 at 11, May 27, 2007
Augusta, Ga. --- The documents say it all.
"A lot of our juveniles are at risk. Some of it could be their fault. They could be some bad kids. A lot of it is parenting, and lack of parenting," Judge Bill Sams said.
19-year-old Anthony Gerome Joe Jr. has had several run-in's with the law. Judge Bill Sams said Joe has had a criminal history. Back in 2001, when Joe was only 12-years-old, he was arrested and charged with aggravated battery, after vigorously shaking an 18-month-old baby causing brain damage. The baby died and Joe was charged with murder. Judge Sams said he was committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for detention and rehabilitation treatment. Judge Sams said jail is their last resort.
"The last thing we want to do is put a child in jail. That's the last thing we want to do. We want to try everything else first," Judge Sams said.
But Joe kept at it. According to his juvenile records, he had two more offenses. In January 2006, for battery. And in February 2006, for burglary. Judge Sams said Joe was given more than just a second chance to turn his life around.
"He was certainly given a lot of chances this time," Judge Sams said.
Chances that have turned into more charges. Richmond County investigators are still looking for Anthony Joe, wanted now for murder and possession of a firearm during a crime. Investigators think Joe shot and killed David Reader, the lead cellist in the Augusta Symphony, in the parking lot of East Boundary Apartments in May.
"If he did what he's alleged to have done, this time. The Superior Court will treat him as an adult, and he will be dealt with accordingly," Judge Sams said.