Fulton County Superior Judge Doris Downs might be described as a gambler who plays with the house’s money. In 2017, she bet that 17-year-old Jayden Myrick, who had pleaded guilty to an armed robbery he committed in 2015, could turn his life around if he were spared incarceration. The gamble ultimately cost a D.C. restaurateur named Christian Broder his life.
It’s not as though Judge Downs hadn’t been warned by prosecutors — repeatedly. As WUSA reports, she was told that during an earlier stint in youth detention, Myrick had organized a branch of the gang The Bloods and committed violent crimes inside the detention facility.
“Court records show that he had over 32 misconduct violations [while in juvenile detention], they recommended or said that his progress was minimal,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told Downs.
But the judge wasn’t having any. She had aspirations for Myrick. He would get his high school GED, get a job, and learn life skills on the outside. “He’s going to get out, that’s the reality,” she said. “He’s going to get out [now or later].”
But the same day he was released he proved the error of the judge’s ways. Downstairs in the courthouse he had “forced several young people in the detention with him to eat from a toilet.”
The wrongness of Downs’s decision was demonstrated again less than a month later when Myrick ended up in jail for violating his probation.
So had the judge learned her lesson? Not at all. Instead of sending him to prison, she ordered him to live in an Atlanta community rehab program aimed at helping troubled youth.
Howard said that less than a month after being granted probation, Myrick showed up on social media involved in gang activity.
“Another Instagram post shows [Myrick threatening] that if anyone calls the police that they would be shot, including his own mother,” Howard told 11Alive, our sister station in Atlanta.
Myrick’s probation was revoked in November of 2017 but for only two months. Prosecutors then asked for his probation to be revoked in May of 2018, but that was denied.
After midnight of July 8, Myrick was arrested and charged with the murder of Christian Broder, who had been shot and killed outside a country club where he was attending a wedding. Judge Downs has refused comment on the case.