Breaking: 14-year-old charged in shooting death of another denied bond

MONROE, GA (June 3, 2024) – The teen charged in the Feb. 3, 2024 shooting death of 15-year-old Cordarius Early has been denied bond for a second time. He was initially denied bond on March 25.

Artis Ladamian Johnson, 14, appeared in front of Alcovy Circuit Superior Court Judge Layla Zon on Monday for his attorney, Ben Githieya, to ask again that he be remanded to the custody of his mother with an ankle monitor so he can attend school. Johnson is currently incarcerated at a Youth Detention Center where he is attending school. Githiaya also asked that the bond not be punitive and noted that Johnson is “a good kid” and has mostly good grades.

“As and Bs and just one C that he’s currently working on,” Githiaya said. “He was born and raised in Walton County, attending Monroe Elementary School, Carver Middle School and Monroe Area High School as a ninth grader. He also played basketball.”

Githiaya said the hope is that in time Johnson will be exonerated and indicated the defense would be mounted on the basis of self defense. He also said they hoped to move the case out of Superior Court.

Johnson’s mother Angela Johnson, also spoke on her son’s behalf, saying “he is loving and caring young man,” and promising to be responsible for him while he is in her custody.

Githiaya said Johnson has no criminal history and would not be a flight risk as he has no means of his own and would be totally reliant on his mother for his care.

Alcovy Circuit Court Assistant District Attorney Lacey Majors, who was opposing Johnson’s release on bond, reminded the court that following the alleged shooting he had fled the scene and hid. When apprehended by police he told them he had run because he mother had always told him to flee from the police if ever approached by them. His mother said that was not the case, saying she had always told him to respond to the police and to answer any questions they asked.

Majors said that Johnson had approached the unarmed 15-year-old and shot at him seven times, hitting him center mass six of those times. He had then chosen to run and hide, telling law enforcement that was what his mother had always told him to do. He had been in possession of a gun that he should not have had and that he currently is in school at YDC.

In denying bond again, Zon said the same conditions applied to his situation as they had in the first hearing. She said she did not see how his mother would be able to watch him as she worked.

“And he can’t go back to school. There is not a Walton County school that will have him. Being confined is the best thing for him,” Zon said. “I know where he is now.”

Zon also noted that murder is one of the “seven deadlies,” which is why he is in front of a Superior Court judge.

Johnson has been charged as an adult and, under Georgia law, the Superior Court has ‘exclusive original jurisdiction over the trial of any child 13 to 17 years of age who is alleged to have committed’ a list of certain offenses, including murder. Johnson is charged with one count of malice murder, one count of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of damage to property in the first degree, another count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and another count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, all felonies charges, and one count of possession of a handgun by person under the age of 18 years and two counts of tampering with evidence, all misdemeanors.

The charges stem from the incident that happened at about 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 when officers with the Monroe Police Department responded to the 300 block of North Madison Avenue regarding a shooting that ultimately resulted in the death of the 15-year-old victim. Johnson was subsequently arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

Githiaya noted that Johnson is presumed innocent at this time and said again that he acted in self defense.

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