Community speaks up for teen accused of beating older brother to death

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News 12 NBC 26 / Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017

MCCORMICK, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A community is speaking up for a 15-year-old accused of beating his older brother to death.

Garrett Nixon is being charged as an adult for the murder of his 18-year-old brother Matthew Adams. As Garrett now sits in a juvenile detention center, neighbors and friends say there's a lot more to the story.

They say no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, but the Sheriff's Office says on February 8th, 15-year-old Garrett beat his older brother with an aluminum bat to death.

The community can't believe the teen accused is the smart, reserved red-head they know.

"Very quiet, sweet kid. He was a very smart child," said a mother whose children went to school with Garrett and Matthew.

Garrett was smart enough to be chosen as student of the month for February at McCormick High School and witty enough to create cartoons he posted on his Facebook page that seem to give a little context into this mind. One, a darker shade of foreshadowing, shows cartoon Garrett standing on top of his brother with the caption "Garrett slays the mighty Matthew."

Most people who know Garrett wouldn't go on camera and wanted to remain anonymous, but several wanted to speak out because they say the crime doesn't match the person. They also say there was more going on.

"From what I heard, there was a lot of bullying going on by the older brother to the younger brother," a man close to the family said. "I don't want this to be a witch hunt on Garrett."

EMA Coordinator Jason Brown has heard that, too, but at this point it's still hearsay. What's concrete is the warrant charging the teen with murder, accusing him of "malice aforethought" which means they think he did it intentionally.

"I have mixed emotions about it, too. Like I say, if the kid was being bullied, everybody's got their snapping point, but that's going to be up to the jury and the courts to decide," Brown said.

Despite the rumors of bullying, the Sheriff's Office says they've been called to that home less than three times since 2004. So as Garrett sits in jail, the community says this message is for him.

"He does have people that are backing him, and we would like to find a child advocate that could stand up for him," the woman who's children went to school with him said.

There are several other allegations about the older brother's past, but all juvenile records are sealed, and we have not been able to access anything public. However, neighbors told us they did see Matthew wearing an ankle monitor a couple years ago.

McCormick County Sheriff says the boys' mother was not home at the time of the crime. She arrived after the Sheriff's Office got on scene. He says the case is still in its infancy and there has been no talk of the death penalty. It will be up to a judge whether Garrett stays at the juvenile detention center or is transported elsewhere.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017

McCORMICK COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- 15-year-old Garrett Nixon has been charged as an adult with the murder of his 18-year-old brother Matthew Adams.

A close friend of Adams his birthday is February 13th, and she is sad they can't spend it together.

"It was just really hard because we had just seen him. And it really puts things into perspective that you don't know when people are going to be gone" said Lynn.

She says she can not understand how this happened.

"I would never see him as fighting with Garrett. He would always talked so good about Garrett, every time I would ask him about his family or something he would be like I love my brother Garrett so much."

Lynn says it's really hard to face the reality of things, but she knows that Adams is now watching over her and his family.