By Ed Brock
A Clayton County grand jury has indicted all four suspects on murder charges in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl.
The indictments, released Wednesday afternoon, charges 18-year-old Quadarrion Nelson, 15-year-old Ricardo Pinder, 17-year-old Roderick Lamar Didone of Forest Park, and 17-year-old Devin Brandon Mashburn of Morrow with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Didone is also charged with false report of a crime and Mashburn is charged with tampering with evidence. Previously those were the only charges Didone and Mashburn faced.
"We felt they were all involved in felony murder," Clayton County District Attorney Jewel Scott said at a press conference in which she announced the indictments.
The charges stem from the April 22 shooting of Krystal Williams, a freshman at Forest Park High School, at a party on Conley Drive. Several fights broke out and when the partygoers were leaving somebody began firing into the air on the lawn.
Police say Nelson was in a white Cadillac with the other suspects and fired a .380-caliber handgun from the car. Pinder then handed Nelson a 9 mm and he fired into a crowd of running partygoers, Clayton County Police Department Capt. Jeff Turner said previously, and one of those bullets hit Williams.
Scott said the quick indictments were indicative of her office's policy of zero tolerance toward gang violence. She added that later she will have to decide whether to pursue the death penalty in the case.
Williams' mother, Michelle McWhorter, attended the press conference but said she wouldn't comment specifically on what kind of penalty she would like to see for the four suspects.
"I won't say right now, but I want justice done," McWhorter said, adding that she agreed with the decision to upgrade the charges.
"All of them should be punished with the same crime."
She also urged parents to talk to their children and for unity in the community in addressing the problem of violence among the county's youth.
"Kids just don't really know what they're doing," McWhorter said. "It seems like we're all strangers from one another."
A 16-year-old male Forest Park High School student, whose name was not released, was also arrested in connection with the shooting and charged with involuntary homicide, reckless conduct and discharging a firearm near a highway.
Turner said investigators believe he is the person who fired the first shots into the air that preceded Williams' being shot.
Scott said that teen's case, being handled by Juvenile Court, is also under review for an upgrade in charges.