Only on 12: Mother pleads son's case as he faces charges for YDC inmate's murder

Keiondra Everidge
Keiondra Everidge was devastated when she learned her 17-year-old son was charged with murder. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 11, 2011)
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News 12 First at Five / Friday, Dec. 2, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Once again, Michael Everidge was supposed to be in court for a bond hearing.

But again, it didn't happen. This time, it was continued.

His mother says that's what she wanted and she's saying a lot more about what may have happened that deadly night at Augusta's Youth Development Campus in November.

"Michael is totally saying he did not kill this person," Keiondra Everidge said.

Michael's family is relieved that his case was continued. They want a preliminary hearing to hear the evidence against him.

"I mean, you got to understand there are more boys involved in this from what my son is saying," Keiondra said. "There's more involved in this situation."

In an internal email obtained by News 12, an investigative interview was scheduled with Jade Holder, the 19-year-old inmate who died after the assault. It was sent to Augusta YDC Director John Brady the week before the beating from senior Department of Juvenile Justice investigator Benson Styles.

That next Thursday, Nov. 10 at 9:30 a.m., the meeting never happened because Holder was already dead.

Sgt. Marlon McCreary was the guard on duty that Monday night in unit 43. The DJJ fired him two days after the beating.

That termination letter says he failed to lock the doors, allowing the beating to take place. The letter said: "As a result of your conduct, residents were allowed to enter and exit the rooms of other residents ... and fatally assault a youth."

A prison pastor who's been inside Augusta's YDC first came forward to News 12 days after Holder's death alleging criminal activity by some YDC staff members.

He wasn't alone.

A former inmate, a prison worker and a former guard, all with similar stories. All afraid to show their faces.

Those allegations include contraband like cellphones and illegal drugs, sexual harassment and employee misconduct. The state has reported 86 incidents of employee misconduct at Augusta YDC -- just in 10 months of this year.

Cpt. Victor Martin was suspended four days after Holder's death and is also being investigated for employee misconduct.

"People trying to save their jobs, but I'm fighting to save my son's life and someone should have protect them to where this young boy wasn't killed," Keiondra said.

Since the tragedy, changes are in motion. Gov. Nathan Deal has already appointed Sardis Police Chief Gary Jones to take over as interim director for at least 90 days. He starts Monday.

A new commissioner for the DJJ has also been sworn in, and her agency says they are investigating along with the GBI because, "they want answers, too."

Meanwhile, Keiondra says the case manager for the DJJ that was at her home this week hasn't followed through with his promises. It took him 19 days to contact the family after Michael's arrest. He told us this week that he was going to contact Michael to make sure he was OK.

Keiondra said he later called to say he wasn't able to speak with Michael after all and that's the last she's heard from the DJJ.

To read more about this case and see all of News 12's coverage, head over to our special coverage page.