Jonathan Redding, 30 Deep, the Blue Jeans Burglaries, the Standard Bar Murder, and Disorder in Atlanta’s Courts

Jonathan Redding, suspect in the murder of Grant Park bartender John Henderson, suspected of firing a gun in an earlier armed robbery outside the Standard (Why isn’t it attempted murder when you fire a gun during a robbery?  Are we rewarding lack of aim?), suspect in a “home invasion gun battle” in which Redding shot at people, and was shot himself (Two more attempted murders, at least, if sanity existed in the prosecutor’s office), suspected member of the “30-Deep Gang,” one of those pathetic, illiterate, quasi-street gangs composed of children imitating their older relatives, middle-schoolers waving wads of cash and firearms on YouTube: Jonathan Redding is 17.

How many chances did the justice system have to stop Johnathan Redding before he murdered an innocent man?  How many chances did they squander?

In May, Fox 5 ran a chilling story about the 30 Deep Gang.  Deidra Dukes reported:

Police say 30 Deep is based in Atlanta’s Mechanicsville community. The gang reportedly popped up on their radar about three years ago, and recruits members as young as in middle school.

“They know that the juvenile laws are a little more lax than they are when they are adults so they get them to do so they get them to do more serious crimes between the ages of 14 and 16, they won’t get into as much trouble,” said Harper.

Everybody knows this.  Everybody knows that there are 14-year olds waving guns on the streets and 16-year olds committing murder.  How can they not know, when there is video evidence of it, not to mention the bodies?  Spend a few minutes on YouTube watching the videos in which young men identify themselves by their housing project, some by the names of housing projects that were torn down but have managed to survive in the imaginations of eighth-graders as places where life was good in direct, not inverse, proportion to violence and chaos.

Look at the apartments these kids live in, that appear in the videos: they have little cathedral ceilings and nice fixtures, but nothing else — no beds, just mattresses, no pictures on the walls.  Nobody is starving: this is cultural poverty.  These are children: they take pictures of themselves in their classrooms, pictures of the school bus, then, inevitably, pictures of wads of cash and guns and little groups of kids who would have a hard time reading Goodnight Moon throwing gang signs with their hands.

What never ceases to amaze me is that I went to college with people who looked upon this stuff as romantic, not tragically stunted.  From the first time I walked into an apartment like the ones on these videos, I could see that what we were doing wasn’t working, if this was the result.  And yet people still debate this, as if there is anything left to say in the face of such colossal ignorance, and violence, and wasted lives, subsidized by us.

For the last year, the Mayor, the Police Chief, the usual editorialists and academicians, have all been denying that any of this is a problem.  One Jonathan Redding is one too many, but the powers-that-be, even at this late and tragic date, want to punish the public for daring to say this out loud.  If voters don’t reject this status quo next week, it will be a shame.


Jonathan Redding’s defense attorney is laying the groundwork to claim that her client’s profound ignorance is some type of defense — that he “doesn’t understand” the charges against him.  His life was empty, nihilistic, wasted, violent: this is an argument in favor of him.  Such routine suspension of disbelief in favor of defendants, and the rules of evidence that block the search for truth at every turn, are in Redding’s favor from now on.

It is not believable that Jonathan Redding is such a naif in the courtroom.  Some prosecutor or judge let him go, over and over — first as a truant, then as a juvenile, then as “just a robber” or “just a kid breaking into cars,” or “just a member of the gang stealing blue jeans.”  Now he is lucky to be alive, having been shot, and he is facing a lifetime in prison, and John Henderson is dead.

“They know that the juvenile laws are a little more lax.”  Our justice system has tied its own hands in a thousand different ways, and the judge wants Redding to testify before a Grand Jury, to give up names.

Who are we kidding?  Nobody in the juvenile justice system, nobody on the police force, knows who Redding was running with?  How many bites at the apple did they have with this kid?

Sure, put him in front of the Grand Jury; however, the Grand Jury is too little too late: plenty of people with authority to stop him knew precisely what Johnathan Redding was doing and who he was doing it with, but they didn’t take it seriously, and two more lives are over.  When will this price finally seem too high?


11 thoughts on “Jonathan Redding, 30 Deep, the Blue Jeans Burglaries, the Standard Bar Murder, and Disorder in Atlanta’s Courts”

  1. I was at that last hearing. The judge, Kimberly Esmond Adams, was looking for any excuse to allow his attorney into the grand jury, which goes against the rules. She delayed the decision, and it never was publicized what she ruled. That’s the kind of shit that passes for justice: make a ruling, but do it when no one is around, if possible.

  2. I have eaten at the Standard many times, today in fact, and I know a young man, who is a bartender, who has many friends who knew John Henderson. I recall seeing John on several occasions prior to his murder but I did not know him personally. My friend, and his friends, refuse to eat at the Standard because of the owners refusal to install shatter proof glass after the earlier robberies; it was installed after Mr. Henderson’s murder. The young thug who is accused of murdering John should be given a fair trial, and convicted, if proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and not given a pass, simply because of his ignorance, or “environmental factors”. John Henderson deserves justice.

  3. “Why isn’t it attempted murder when you fire a gun during a robbery? Are we rewarding lack of aim?”

    Georgia’s attempted murder charge is “Aggravated Assault” and would be the appropriate violation for the act described.

  4. Hi Tom, the state has always had an attempted murder law, and now the sentencing has caught up.

    According to the Houston County (GA) DA:

    “For years, one never saw the charge of “attempted murder” being lodged against someone who had shot or stabbed someone. The reason was that Georgia law was a bit archaic in how it punished “attempted murder”, with a punishment that had a maximum of 10 years in prison. As a result, prosecutors instead went with aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which has a 20 year maximum prison sentence. Plus aggravated assault or battery is far easier to prove since all the prosecutor has to prove is intent to harm, not intent to kill. Long story made short, prosecutors simply never charged attempted murder because it wasn’t worth the trouble. That has changed with the enactment of a new Georgia law that went into effect on July 1, 2007. As of that date, anyone charged with “attempted murder” is facing up to 30 years in the state prison system. Naturally you can expect prosecutors to be using attempted murder far more frequently than in the past because now the sentence fits the crime. The Legislature probably settled on 30 years for “attempted murder” since a defendant is now first eligible for parole on a murder conviction after 30 years (previously, it was 14 years).”

    His website is a great resource. You can see every case he processes, and he offers lots of resources on Georgia law. I wish every DA did the same.

  5. ha,ha he is innocent.!!! so stop writing these ignorant comments. you can’t judge a book by its cover, as stated in the above text, he was one of the many teenagers there. Doesnt mean he commited the crime. I pray for cases like this everyday.!!

  6. Lik Shawdy Said Don’t Be Judgin My Lil Brother Cuz We Got More Out Here And You Not Gone Find Em….Im Lo-Lo [TTG] And Yal Cant Stop Us AT ALL…So Take My Lil BRother Off Dis And Let Em Out

  7. this young man didnt killed the bartender he was at the wrong place at the wrong time just like the white bartender he has a family too..just because he young and black people want to give him hell

  8. Ms. Hogan, you clearly feel the need to believe otherwise, but I could not care less about Reddings’ race.

    You must also think very, very little of him yourself if you believe that he is so utterly incapable of personal volition that he was making no “choice” by arming himself, torturing and killing people. There is nothing more actually degrading than arguing that people are mere animals so incapable of comprehending moral distinctions that they must not be held responsible for anything that they do. This is what you’re really saying about Reddings.

    Think about it.

  9. Great article, Tina. It’s so nice to have a complete and total turd like Redding off of the street. I love the earlier reader comment where he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” by “ms. hogan”. Coincidental convictions don’t pair with TWO DOZEN FELONY CHARGES. Bwhahahahaha! Ignorance is one thing, denial is another…

  10. It’s been really interesting to hear from people who defend obviously guilty, serial offenders like this. When you let somebody go two dozen times, why shouldn’t they presume that there are no consequences for whatever it is that they do next? We’re grooming killers — inside courtrooms.

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