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Grandmother defends boy accused in Burke County killing

Child's unstable home life a factor, she says

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. — The boy Robin Archer remembers is a happy child, a fifth-grade student she never had a problem with when he was living with her.

Archer   Summer Moore/Staff
Summer Moore/Staff
Archer

Now, her grandchild is being charged with murder by the state of Georgia.

Late last month, Burke County investigators responded to a home in Midville and found the body of 31-year-old Jennifer Albright. She had been shot to death during what police originally thought was a home invasion, but later determined to be her boyfriend’s 10-year-old son with a shotgun.

“There were guns all over the house,” Archer said.

She said the boy had been having trouble with Albright ever since he was sent to live with her and his father, because his mother, Kim McCollum, was found with drugs.

When his parents were still together, their home was violent, Archer said: “All his mother and father did was fight.”

The boy was sent back and forth between them until he was taken away because of the drugs. After that, Archer said he was not allowed to contact her or McCollum, who live together.

“He used to sneak away and call me,” she said. “He would whisper into the phone so (Albright) wouldn’t hear.”

Once, she overheard Albright curse and yell at him when she found him on the phone.

“She was awful to him. He would tell me, ‘Nanna, I just want to leave,’ ” Archer said.

The fifth-grader tried to get out of the living situation many times, Archer said. He even accused his father of molesting him once, just to try to get back to Archer and Mc­Col­lum’s home. But when it came down to pressing charges, Archer said, he could not go against his father.

The boy’s mother was so worried about the situation that she contacted the Division of Family and Children Services several times but was ignored, Archer said.

Archer concedes that her grandson should face punishment. She said she understands there are consequences for Albright’s death.

“Of course I’m prejudiced,” she said. “I’m the boy’s grandma. I know he pulled the trigger, but someone else is also responsible.”

She is worried people will think he is an evil child.

“He’s not one of those kids out killing animals and then it progressed. He didn’t want to kill her, he just wanted to hurt her, like she was hurting him,” she said.

The boy denied the allegations in his arraignment at Burke County Juvenile Court, and the next step will be a status update hearing at the end of February. His trial could start in April.

His lawyer, Pete Theodocion, said they will try to have the child’s statement thrown out because of his age. Even though there was a guardian present when he gave his account, Theodocion said he will argue a 10-year-old cannot understand his constitutional rights.

“I know a life is gone,” Archer said. “But we need to take care of the one that’s left.”

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newnana
0
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newnana 01/28/12 - 10:32 pm
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I have a 10 year old son and

I have a 10 year old son and I can't fathom that he would have any idea of realizing the magnitude of what has happened. I think having been put in the situation this child seems to have been put in by both his parents he reacted to the situation. I don't believe at all this child is a killer. We on the outside have no idea what goes on in other people's homes. Having worked my entire career with the state of GA and it social services many people would be shocked to hear of what goes on in their neighbor's homes. This child is nothing but a victim of his circumstances. Yes he did wrong, and our children have to learn right from wrong and know there is consequences, however this child I believe was put in a situation where he felt in his 10 year old mind this was his only option. He was forced because of his parents to make a horrible choice which unfortunately he will be punished for instead of his parents. I am sorry they should have to serve this punishment. This kid needs lots of pyschological counseling. My heart goes out to the family of the young lady killed as she was a victim as well. Not to excuse the fact that a life was lost. The parens however, are to blame in this situation. It is no different than the local news we hear daily about 16 and 17 year old getting killed at local clubs. Where are the parents? These kids are raising themselves out on the streets. Parents you will be held accountable by God for your nonparenting. No 16 or 17 year old has any business out past 9:00 on a school night and after 10 or 11 on a weekend night. Nothing good is going on at midnight for young teens.

hope7
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hope7 01/28/12 - 11:05 pm
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Doesn't nana need to be quiet

Doesn't nana need to be quiet for the sake of her grandson's future? And for her to speak of the deceased woman is unacceptable to say the least.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 01/29/12 - 03:32 am
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Our society will reap a

Our society will reap a whirlwind of violence because of our unwillingness to solve the problems of sexual irresponsibility and of procreator indifference to offspring welfare.

scoobynews
3855
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scoobynews 01/29/12 - 07:41 am
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Could it have been that the

Could it have been that the ex was trying to make the boy mind? Maybe he was acting out which is typical of this age. I mean he had already said he accused the dad of molesting him so he could go back to the mother's side. I have a lot of experience with kids such as this who act out at school and when you meet their parents or kin who keep them it is the same story. They always want to be with the parent that gives them less rules and let's them have their way. Mom was most likely jaked up on dope so much that she never knew what he was doing then he gets sent to dad and the girlfriend who may have been trying to make him mind. A good read on this boys behavior would be hsi teachers or other adults who had contact with him away from home. If he was a behavior problem to them then that says it all. I can't buy the "good kid" discription when you take a gun and KILL someone with it. Had the mother not been a dopehead this may not have happened to this kid or this woman who lost her life. It is a sad situation for everyone involved. Someone is dead but this boy will be able to live and be out of jail by 21 from what I understand.

Willow Bailey
20595
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Willow Bailey 01/29/12 - 11:06 am
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So, you've got it all figured

So, you've got it all figured out, scoobynews. You've judged the mother as completely worthless and the dad and his live in girlfriend as the models of good behavior and appropriate disciplinarians. Under the circumstances, that just doesn't sound very realistic to me.

The child is ten years old, living in an apparent hell of which he has no say so or control over. It sounds like everyone who knew this little boy failed him in every way imaginable.

Hope723
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Hope723 01/29/12 - 04:18 pm
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Regardless of the"hell"the

Regardless of the"hell"the child lived in, he had to know that was wrong. The problem isn't just the child. It isn't just the parents. It's certainly not DFCS's problem. The problem is that life has no meaning or value to anyone anymore.

Willow Bailey
20595
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Willow Bailey 01/29/12 - 05:35 pm
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You have no way of knowing

You have no way of knowing what the child has witnessed, nor what he knew, felt or has experienced.

Willow Bailey
20595
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Willow Bailey 01/29/12 - 06:31 pm
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And on that, I am in total

And on that, I am in total agreement, yellowcat.

Willow Bailey
20595
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Willow Bailey 01/29/12 - 06:32 pm
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The way we come to value

The way we come to value others, is through a family or support system who values our life. We can't give away that which we do not possess.

CABoatright
188
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CABoatright 01/30/12 - 08:14 am
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Scoobynews, thank you for
Unpublished

Scoobynews, thank you for saving me the typing...I'm in complete agreement with you.

unreal
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unreal 01/31/12 - 02:51 pm
1
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I have been following this

I have been following this story because I happen to know the victim personally. When I say victim, I am referring to Jennifer who was murdered, not the child that pulled the trigger. I understand grandma standing by the boy, Lord knows he cant count on his mother. However, for Robin Archer to speak so negatively about someone who lost their life, I feel that she is a despicable, miserable human being. This is a terrible tragedy and I could not imagine having to deal with something like this, but I believe that if something like this happened, I would do anything in my power to try to comfort those that are grieving the loss of their loved one. Instead, Robin Archer insists on placing the blame on someone other than the boy that pulled the trigger. It is a sad world that you can not discipline a child without grandma and lets not leave out the drug addict mother, calling dfacs. I have personally witnessed Jennifer's interaction with this boy and she was a wonderful role model. Did she hold him accountable for his actions, yes she did, but isnt that what a true parent is supposed to do? Please do not answer that grandma Archer because its obvious that you do not believe in discipline. This child shot a killed someone in cold blood at point blank range. Then, made up an elaborate story about a guy in a ski mask. Sounds pretty premeditated to me. And lets not forget about the poor baby that witnessed her mother's murder. As I said, I understand her standing by her grandson, but to lay blame on the victim just shows what kind of heartless human being she really is.

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