7th man charged with murder in Norcross teen's slaying

NORCROSS -- Nearly two months after the home-invasion slaying of Nicolas Jackson II, Norcross police have charged a seventh man in connection with the teen's fatal shooting, officials said Thursday.

U.S. Marshals on Wednesday apprehended Atlanta resident Darrez Chandler, 31, and turned him over to Norcross police. Chandler is charged with murder and burglary in the Feb. 2 death of Jackson, 15, a freshman football player and middle-school valedictorian adored by his church and school associates.

Chandler joins six other metro Atlanta men charged with murder in the case. The others were apprehended after allegedly storming the basement of Jackson's Autry Street home near downtown Norcross, firing shots into his bedroom door and leaving the scene in a rented Dodge Caravan.

In an earlier hearing, a Norcross detective said police had identified a man who rented the van. Officials said Thursday that Chandler is not that man.

"We can't really go into it much," said Norcross police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr. "(Chandler) was not at the scene during the incident, but we have tied him into the event."

Harr said additional interviews and leads in ensuing weeks had led police to Chandler.

The six other suspects are also charged with burglary and murder -- Michael Davis, 23, of College Park, Jason Dozier, 36, of Lithonia, Anthony Lumpkin, 32, of Douglasville, and Atlanta residents Eddie Lewis Green, 46, Timothy Lamar Johnson, 34, and Reco West, 20. All are being held in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

According to earlier testimony, the robbery crew kicked in a metal basement door at Jackson's home, determined to gain access to the teen's bedroom. Jackson was barricading the door with his hands when six shots were fired into his Masonite bedroom door from at least two guns, leaving a cluster of holes. Jackson was shot once through the heart.

When Norcross police rounded up the suspects after a nearby traffic stop, most of them claimed they were heading to the Mall of Georgia to buy blue jeans, a detective testified.

In and around the Dodge Caravan each man had been riding in, police found what appeared to be damning evidence: latex gloves, a roll of duct tape, two ski masks, four semi-automatic handguns and -- tucked in a black bag and stowed in a compartment -- more that $19,000.

Police have said the source of that money, as well as a possible connection between the robbers and Jackson's family, is under investigation.

The killing was the first in Norcross city limits since 2009.