Trial to start for teen slaying suspect

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Duluth teen charged in a slaying at a Norcross apartment complex last year will go to trial this week.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said jury selection began Monday in a trial against 17-year-old Jovan Nicholson.

Nicholson, along with 17-year-old Tunde Alatise of Lilburn and Richard Shugart, 17, of Duluth, allegedly robbed and shot to death Mendoza-Garcia outside the Bristol Court Apartments in Norcross on July 8, 2006.

All three were arrested last year and also charged with carjacking and armed robbery. The arrests came after Community Response Team officers patrolling Pelican Drive - an area known for drug and prostitution activity - got an unexpected break, police told the Post at the time the arrests were made.

Alatise was convicted of Mendoza-Garcia's murder in April and sentenced to life in prison by a Gwinnett County superior court judge.

A similar sentence could result for Nicholson and Shugart, but specifics of the case were not available Monday. Messages left with Assistant District Attorney David Keeton, who is prosecuting the case, were not returned.

The three 17-year-old boys are also linked to more than a dozen other armed robberies targeting Hispanics in the same area where Mendoza-Garcia was shot.

Deliberation in the murder case against Nicholson will continue into the week, superior court officials confirmed.

A trial date has not yet been set for Shugart.