Judge delays ruling on whether Burke County 10-year-old's confession will be played at trial

Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 1:31 PM
Last updated Thursday, March 1, 2012 1:28 AM
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. — A Juvenile Court judge delayed his ruling Wednesday as to whether the recorded confession of a 10-year-old boy accused of murder will be played at trial.

The boy, who has not been publicly identified because of his age, is charged with murder and possession of a firearm in connection with the death of Jennifer Albright, 31, who was killed in the Fry Lane home she shared with the boy, his father and his 19-month-old sister.

A four-hour hearing was held Wednesday to establish whether the statements would be allowed at trial, but Judge Willie Saunders did not issue an order at the request of the boy’s attorney, Pete Theodocion.

Theodocion asked to submit a brief instead of an oral argument because he wanted a copy of the transcript of the hearing first. That’s expected to delay a ruling until about mid-March.

In court Wednesday, a Burke County sheriff’s investigator and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent were questioned about the confession, which came about three hours after the suspect was brought to the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

The young defendant first stated that a stranger in a ski mask burst into the home, grabbed the shotgun he was showing to his friend and killed his father’s girlfriend of two years.

In the recorded statement, he suddenly admits to lying and begins sobbing about how the gun went off when he accidentally dropped it.

He says he lied because he didn’t want his dad to take away the single-barrel 12-gauge shotgun he received for Christmas five days earlier.

“I don’t want to go to (juvenile lockup),” the boy wails.

Investigators take a break after his admission to talk with the boy’s father, then start a second interview after reading the defendant his Miranda rights.

In this second interview, the suspect further breaks down and admits to aiming at Albright and shooting her. He repeatedly says he’s sorry and at one point asks his father, who is sitting with him, whether he still loves him. His father replies he does.

Theodocion criticized the investigators’ procedures in the case, emphasizing through his questions that investigators were questioning a 10-year-old and casting doubt on whether his client understood his rights.

“To be honest, this type of crime doesn’t happen often,” GBI Agent Wendell Goodwin said.

Saunders will hear arguments in Richmond County on Tuesday about whether the defendant can be released from juvenile lockup until trial.

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Cynical old woman
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Cynical old woman 02/29/12 - 07:52 pm
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Heartbreaking on every level.

Heartbreaking on every level.

realitycheck09
307
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realitycheck09 02/29/12 - 08:03 pm
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Just as a child should not be

Just as a child should not be tried as an adult, giving a 10-year old a shotgun for Christmas is likewise age inappropriate. This is a real tragedy, but surely could have been prevented by some common sense.

TParty
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TParty 02/29/12 - 08:20 pm
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Guns don't kill people,

Guns don't kill people, realitycheck09, people kill people.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 02/29/12 - 10:04 pm
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Yes tparty, but providing a

Yes tparty, but providing a loaded gun to a baby isn't the right thing to do.

realitycheck09
307
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realitycheck09 02/29/12 - 10:33 pm
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Tparty...I'm going to assume

Tparty...I'm going to assume that you were being ironic and don't actually think giving a gun to a 10-year old is a good idea.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 03/01/12 - 08:23 am
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There are ten year olds who

There are ten year olds who have been taught how to use and respect such a gun, but that doesn't mean the parent doesn't keep it locked and unloaded until time to be used with supervision. When are families going to wake up and realize all that we are allowing to destroy us from within?? When are adults going to realize that it they have children they need to make them a priority in their lives and will need to make sacrifices for years in order to give them what they need and deserve?? It's not the kids...it's their parents.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 03/01/12 - 12:17 pm
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Being from that area, I have

Being from that area, I have spoken to some people who know this family personally and from what I am being told, this little boy was said to be upset about his parents splitting up and we all know that parents sometimes say things in front of their children that they should not. This should be a lesson that children are just that, they are children and they should not be put in the middle of adult drama. This case is so sad in so many ways. Growing up as a child in the south we all had guns at a young age, we were taught how to handle them safely, we hunted with our fathers and grandfathers but times have changed and our young people are exposed to so much violence so they have to be handled taught in a different way now.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 03/01/12 - 04:38 pm
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i can't fathom a 10 year old

i can't fathom a 10 year old child committing murder. Not murder by my definition.

My understanding of murder requires the perp to use reasoning and clarity of mind to decide to commit the act. I can't figure the kid used any reasoning or clarity to decide to kill the victim. He may have had conflicting thoughts that led him to think that pulling the trigger would solve some issues, but even that is a stretch. The most plausible conclusion (imo) would be he saw something on the TV and being a child, his mind mixed fantasy w/ reality and the lines became blurred. My condolences to the families.

appalledbeyondbelief
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appalledbeyondbelief 03/02/12 - 09:46 am
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'David Parker' the conclusion

'David Parker' the conclusion might not be plausible to you but this 'child' commited a murder that he indeed planned!! He used clarity and reasoning by waiting until his father left for work, and executing what he thought was the best of his plans that he or 'they' had come up with. In MY opinion Georgia needs to change some laws, because no matter how old you are if you can plan and execute a murder, then lie with every story that changes to try to protect yourself, don't you think that he has the mentality of an adult in this aspect. As with a lot of things in our justice system this needs to be looked at and changed in some way. The youth nowadays are way more advanced that in the decades before us. HE PLANNED HER MURDER at 10 years old, what can he do at 20???????????????????

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