LAWRENCEVILLE — The attorneys for both men currently on trial for the murder of 15-year-old Nick Jackson stressed one thing during their opening statements: Don’t trust the state’s No. 1 witnesses.
Anthony “Ant” Lumpkin, the man the prosecution believes fired the fatal bullet, and Eddie “Tiger” Green, the man it believes provided the getaway van, sat quietly Thursday afternoon as proceedings began in earnest. They listened as their attorneys wasted no time attacking Timothy Johnson and Darrez Chandler — two co-defendants in the case that took “amazing deals” in exchange for their testimony.
“Timothy Johnson is going to sit up here and make y’all think that it was everybody but him,” Wesley Person, representing Green, said. “That it was Eddie Green egging him on, ‘Come on man, let’s go do this.’ And you’re not going to hear any evidence to support that, other than Timothy Johnson.”
David Whitman is representing Lumpkin. He called it “truly Machiavellian” that Johnson and Chandler — whom he contended were the chief planners of the Nov. 2, 2012, home invasion — were the ones now pointing fingers.
“They don’t get that (reduced sentence of) 15 years until they say it’s Mr. Lumpkin,” Whitman said.
Authorities believe seven man were part of the crew that went to 310 Autry Street in Norcross that night, drawn by talk of large amounts of cash and cocaine stashed by Nick Jackson I, an admitted drug trafficker. Young Nick Jackson II, a middle school valedictorian and freshman football player at Norcross High School, was shot during the home invasion while attempting to barricade the door to his basement bedroom.
Defendant Jason Dozier, believed to have fired shots in the home, was found guilty last month and given two life sentences plus 45 years. Johnson and Chandler have each entered guilty pleas hinging upon their truthful testimony.
Michael Earl Davis was scheduled to stand trial this week alongside Lumpkin and Green, but his attorney’s wife had a heart attack last week. His trial will be rescheduled at a later date.
Once the current trial ends, Davis and 19-year-old Reco West will be the only suspects with their individual cases yet to be adjudicated
Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Mike Morrison delivered primarily the same opening statement from Dozier’s trial, highlighting Nick Jackson I’s promising future, admitting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation did a shoddy job in processing the crime scene and pointing to the senselessness of it all.
Person, Green’s attorney, gave his own speech loudly and full of passion. His client is not believed to have left the rental van during the invasion but is facing murder charges as a party to the crime.
“You can grieve, and you can be sad, and you can want someone to pay,” he told the jury. “But what I’m going to ask you 14 to do, what I hope that you 14 do, is look at the evidence and determine whether or not Eddie Lewis Green is responsible for this young man not being here.”
Whitman admitted that his client, Lumpkin, kicked in the door to the Jackson residence, but denied assertions that he shot and killed Jackson — or did any shooting at all.
“Mr. Lumpkin was told nobody was going to be home,” he said.
Johnson and Chandler are expected to testify against their co-defendants Friday morning.