'My son is innocent,' says mom of 18-year-old accused accomplice in slaying

Jermaine W. Atterbury appears in court to face murder charge

By Samantha Bryant - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jermaine W. Atterbury, one of the three teenagers facing murder charges in the killing of 56-year-old Michael Robin Griffin, is in Broward County jail Friday.

When Atterbury, who turned 18 in late September, appeared in Broward County court Friday morning in Fort Lauderdale, his mother started shouting. 

"My son is innocent," she said. "It wasn't premeditated."

Records show Atterbury, of Greenacres, was arrested Nov. 16 in Palm Beach County after detectives linked him to the Oct. 12 murder.

Jason Prendergast, 17, of Port St. Lucie, was charged with murder in the shooting death of 56-year-old Michael Robin Griffin in Coconut Creek.

Coconut Creek Police Department detectives say Atterbury was driving a Chevy Avalance, when 17-year-old Jason Junior Prendergast, of Port St. Lucie, shot Griffin in an apparent robbery attempt. Detectives believe 16-year-old Dominic Soto was a passenger in the pickup truck.

Prosecutors charged the trio with murder. The crime scene was in the parking lot of the Walmart at 5571 W. Hillsboro Blvd., in Coconut Creek. Griffin was found dead next to his red Chevrolet Camaro. 

Griffin was born in Zeeland, Michigan. He attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, and served as an emergency medical technician in his hometown. His resume on Linkedin included working in Texas for Siemens and for Toshiba. He was an executive vice president for GBI Intralogistics Solutions in Deerfield Beach when he died. 

"Mike was a wonderful colleague, always there when you need him, funny beyond believe, a rock in any critical situation in business, reliable and trust worthy - just a great guy to have on your side," Uwe Neitzel wrote. 

Michael Robin Griffin was killed Oct. 12 in Coconut Creek.

Gina Zamarelli remembers him as a hardworking colleague who was kind and the "most selfless person I've ever known." Kragh Hertel remembers his good nature, his smile, sincerity and quiet strength. Lucie Anderson and Mike Branes wrote he was the most kind human being they had ever met.

"He had a huge heart and would go out of his way to help anyone in need," Barnes wrote. 

Solving the crime wasn't easy for detectives. Leamon said the investigation involved local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Detective Joe Baretto reported authorities have the murder weapon and there is also surveillance video in the case, Leamon said.  

Officers with the Coral Springs, Boynton Beach and the Riviera Beach police departments, deputies with the Palm Beach County and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, and agents with the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force helped to solve the crime. 

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