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Home of slain teen can't help free father from jail

ATLANTA -- A federal judge on Friday ruled that a Norcross home where a teen was fatally shot in February cannot be used to help bond his father, a drug-trafficking suspect, out of jail.

Tax records show the home where 15-year-old Nick Jackson was killed in a home-invasion is worth nearly $380,000, but that won't be considered as an asset to secure a bond for his father. The suspect, Nicholas Jackson, 38, built the tri-story Craftsman himself on land he'd bought for $30,000 in a quiet, family neighborhood near downtown Norcross, his attorney said.

The home is paid off, with the help of equity from another home Jackson owned that has since fallen into foreclosure, said his attorney, Stanley Baum.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman said he would consider setting bond for Jackson, 38, at $500,000 with stipulations that he is monitored electronically and obtains verifiable employment. Accused of distributing cocaine via Mexican traffickers, Jackson faces at least 10 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors again argued that Jackson is too much of a flight risk and danger to the community to be released.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Skye Davis said Jackson's other assets include a 10-acre property in Greene County and a Ford-F150. He claimed to make $19,000 per year as a self-employed contractor, she said.

Baverman had concerns that the Norcross home was not financed through legitimate means. He also pointed out that the Jackson family is not currently residing there. Baum said the family hasn't been able to bear staying in the house since the teen's slaying.

No bond was granted Friday, as the judge asked prosecutors for more information on Jackson's criminal history and allowed the defense more time to align assets as security for a bond.

Davis said Jackson was convicted of aggravated assault and battery in two cases in the 1990s. He was arrested by Atlanta police in 2005 on charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault. The outcome of that case is unknown, as records are being retrieved from storage, she said.

Baum said he plans to enlist more family members to pledge their homes as assets. An Atlanta home owned by Jackson's mother and uncle has already been pledged, he said.

Prosecutors say a rumor that Jackson -- known in certain circles as a cocaine distributor -- kept $1 million and 50 kilograms of cocaine in his Autry Street home led a six-man robbery crew to storm the basement, where Jackson's son was fatally shot behind his bedroom door.

A Gwinnett police official told the Daily Post that that amount of cocaine, if it existed, would be worth roughly $5 million when cut for street sales.

Seven men are charged in the killing. Jackson was named in a seperate federal indictment as being connected to a Mexican drug ring that pushed cocaine and other drugs across metro Atlanta.

Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter said Jackson will face no charges related to his son's death.

Prosecutors believe Jackson knew at least one of the men accused of killing his son and that $19,000 in cash found in the suspected getaway van came from his home.

For now, Jackson will remain in custody at a jail in Lovejoy, said Baum. A dozen of Jackson's family members and supporters who attended Friday's hearing declined comment.

"Under the circumstances," Baum said of his client, "I think he's doing OK. He's frustrated about where he is and what's going on."