LAWRENCEVILLE -- When police rounded up the six men comprising an alleged robbery crew that stormed a Norcross home and killed a beloved teenager Feb. 2, almost all of them said they were headed to the Mall of Georgia to buy blue jeans, an investigator testified Friday.
In and around the Dodge Caravan each man had been riding in, police found a treasure trove of 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.
Like many aspects in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Nick Johnson II, exactly where than money came from is under investigation, Norcross police Sgt. Bill Grogan testified, during probable cause hearings for the suspects in a tense, capacity courtroom Friday.
According to Grogan's testimony, the men who kicked in a metal basement door at Jackson's Autry Street home seemed hellbent on gaining access to the teen's bedroom. Investigators believe Jackson was barricading the door with his hands when six shots were fired into the door from at least two guns, leaving a cluster of holes about the size of a dinner plate. Jackson was shot once through the heart.
A week after the killing, police are checking cellphone records for Jackson, his family and the suspects and following what Grogan called plentiful leads to determine if the home was randomly targeted or not.
"We have no indication that anyone has any relationship with anybody at this point," Grogan said.
Open drawers and a disheveled mattress suggested Jackson's bedroom was rummaged through. Jackson's father, Nick, told police his son had about $600 gained from chores and birthdays in his room that had vanished, but the family reported nothing else missing, Grogan testified.
None of the six suspects are Gwinnett residents. The alleged getaway van was rented from Hertz at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport two days before the shooting. Police have located the man who rented it but had yet to interview him Friday.
Exactly who fired the guns will be determined by GBI scientists who've collected the weapons, shell casings and most bullets. Grogan said all six men were given tests to determine if they had gun residue on their hands. Results are pending.
Police have charged six men 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. Officials said the slaying is the first in Norcross city limits since 2009.
Each man claimed to know nothing of the home invasion during interrogations. Two men claimed they were sleeping when Norcross police pulled the van over about a half mile from the Jackson's stately Craftsman home.
During a break in interrogations, when Dozier was left alone in a room with Johnson but was secretly being recorded, Dozier said, "That's it for me, bro," in reference to gun-residue tests that had just been performed, Grogan testified.
Police lifted a clear shoe print from the kicked-in door. Testing suggests it matches shoes worn by Lumpkin -- who was found barefoot in some bushes after he and West bailed from the van and ran, Grogan said.
At the home, police found the hollow, Masonite door to Jackson's bedroom taken off the hinges and broken in two. The victim's father told police he'd ripped the door down in anger and tossed it across the basement when CPR efforts appeared futile, Grogan said.
One by one, attorneys asked that warrants be dismissed because nothing directly linked their clients to the crime scene -- save the attorney for Lumpkin, whose shoe print was allegedly on the basement door.
Predictably, Chief Magistrate George Hutchinson bound all charges to Superior Court, where a grand jury will consider indicting them. All remain jailed without bond.
Jackson's funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross, where he attended a Christian academy before Norcross High School. Coaches and friends have called Jackson charming, and a solid prospect on the freshman football team.