Former Party city employee, Joshua Leon Archie, 21, who was wanted in connection with the murder of Party City manager, Bobby Adams, 68, surrendered to police today in Ridgeland, Mississippi, reports WAPT.com.
Undra Ward, 22, a current Party City employee accused of helping to plan and execute the robbery and Adams’ murder, had already been arrested. Both men are currently in the Madison County Jail facing capital murder charges.
The two men previously played football together in both high school and community college before dropping out.
“These young men, who were going to be Jackson firefighters — they had applied and gone through the process — made a grave, grave error in judgment in this case,” said Ridgeland Police Chief Jimmy Houston.
Surveillance video captured Adams going to the back door to let Ward out at closing time on October 26 of this year. After he opens the door, a masked gunman, suspected to be Archie comes in and shoots Adams three times. Ward can clearly be seen in the video attempting — and failing — to appear fearful of the gunman.
“Those two men not only took a husband, father, grandfather, but a friend to many and our future as a family,” said Adams’ daughter Annemarie Adams-McCarty in a statement emailed to 16 WAPT News. “Finding out that both men had worked with my father took my breath away that they could plan this robbery/murder then acted it out and run. He had given them guidance, friendship and a wonderful work environment.”
Archie’s mother, Cherry Price, said she doesn’t believe her son was involved in the heinous crimes:
“It’s a terrible thing. I am his mom and I don’t believe Joshua had anything to do with this matter,” she said.
Archie’s uncle, former Jackson, MS mayoral candidate and community activist, David Archie, addressed the media while his nephew remained silent, requesting that his nephew be placed under suicide watch.
Party City owners were still visibly in shock when addressing the media. They spoke of Adams in glowing terms, calling him a hard-working man who had been with the company since 1994 and was on the verge of retiring.
Only $2,200 dollars was stolen during the armed robbery that ended Adams’ life.
“In my eyes, there will not be enough punishment on earth to give me satisfaction, but I will put everything in God’s hands, then justice will be served and maybe my nightmares will go away,” Adams-McCarty said.
Both Archie and Ward are expected to appear in court Tuesday.