A 10-year-old boy is now sitting behind bars at the Augusta YDC. His mother blames him, the juvenile custody system and most of all, herself. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 23, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o' clock / Thursday, July 26, 2012
BURKE COUNTY, Ga. -- An 11-year-old boy pleaded guilty on Thursday to shooting and killing his father's girlfriend.
He was just 10 years old at the time of the crime.
"I can't change what he did. If I could go back and change something, I would, but I can't," said his mother, Kimberly McCollum.
Judge Willie Saunders presided over the court hearing. Even for a seasoned judge, the case is a shocking one.
"Sometimes, some of these cases, you lose words. There's just not a word to describe it, and this is certainly one of those occasions," he told News 12's Laura Warren.
An overwhelming amount of evidence stacked up against the boy. In a confession, he admitted to shooting and killing his father's girlfriend, Jennifer Albright, with a 12-gauge shotgun he got for Christmas.
"I don't know if I'll ever know what drove him to doing this, ever," his mother said.
The record states after he shot her, he said, "That's what you get, b****."
He then ran out of the house into the woods with his 8-year-old cousin, convincing him to tell investigators a masked man came into the house and shot Albright.
Pete Theodocian, the defense attorney in the case, says, "The entire thing is so abnormal and so unusual that it's just hard to put into words."
Chilling new details released in court today revealed that investigators found detailed plans the boy had written to kill Albright months earlier.
The plans said he wanted to trick her into the bathroom and shoot her "five times in the head and eight times in the stomach."
"He needed some help along the way and that help just wasn't given to him," Theodocian said.
His mother says they tried to get help for him, saying, "They will never know what I went through trying to find help for him."
At one point during the proceedings, the boy started hyperventilating, breaking down, perhaps grasping the weight of his crime.
"I think he grasped some of it, but I'm not sure most of us as adults really grasp the full enormity of what happened," Saunders said.
As everyone in the courtroom relived the details from that December morning, many became emotional, especially the boy's father, trying hard to understand why it happened.
"His father lost the woman who he was living with and in a relationship with at the hands of his own son. And, I mean, how can you really move forward from that?" Theodocian said.
The boy was given the maximum penalty. He will be held at a juvenile facility until he is 21 year old.
BURKE COUNTY, Ga. -- The trial for an 11-year-old Midville, Ga., boy is over.
The boy pleaded guilty to felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He has been given the maximum sentence for shooting and killing his father's girlfriend, Jennifer Albright. He was 10 years old when the shooting happened in December.
The boy will be in a juvenile detention center until he is 21 years old. He will have the opportunity to petition the court for early release each year of his confinement.
A hearing is scheduled in a few weeks to determine who will take custody of the boy if he was to be released early.
The 11-year-old has been held at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Augusta and was the youngest person being held there.
News 12 will continue to follow this and will have more information on News 12 Midday, News 12 First at 5 and News 12 at 6 o'clock.