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Defendant in Jackson murder claimed he was going shopping

LAWRENCEVILLE — Jason Dozier and his pals left southwest Atlanta to go shopping that night, he said. They simply got lost along the way and ended up getting pulled over.

“I hadn’t ever been to the Mall of Georgia,” Dozier said in a videotaped interview with Norcross police, some six hours after 15-year-old Nick Jackson II was shot and killed. “I wanted to buy a pair of shoes.”

So went Dozier’s flimsy first alibi, played Thursday during Day 2 of his trial on charges related to Jackson’s Feb. 2, 2012 murder. The interview with Det. Justin Siegel was brief, partially because Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Tom Davis had had “matters not proper for (the jury’s) consumption” extracted.

Dozier said he wasn’t sure why several of his fellow passengers in the silver rental van fled on foot when stopped by police just a few blocks from Autry Street, where a home invasion resulted in Jackson’s death a few minutes prior. His response made little sense.

“I was behind the driver, so I don’t know,” the now-38-year-old said on video.

The initial interview — though it did contain one statement that could be construed as a sort of confession — directly contradicted what prosecutors and other authorities believe happened that day, as well as Wednesday’s testimony of co-defendant Timothy Johnson.

According to that information, Dozier was part of the six-man robbing crew that hit the residence on Autry Street at about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2012, targeting loads of cash they expected to be stashed by Nick Jackson I, a well-known drug trafficker. Johnson told a jury Wednesday that Dozier admitted firing shots into the basement door that young Nick Jackson II was barricading against his assailants.

Though authorities believe another man, Anthony Lumpkin, fired the fatal shot that pierced Jackson II’s heart, the prosecution has presented evidence that Dozier, in a jailhouse phone conversation with his father, admitted to “doing some shooting.” His thumbprint was also found on the magazine of a recovered Kel-Tec .380 handgun.

At the end of the video showed to the 14-person jury Thursday, Siegel, the Norcross police detective, confronted Dozier with everything authorities “knew” at that point — some actual facts, some fabrications. He asked Dozier what he should be thinking with everything pointing to him and his cohorts.

“You’re thinking the right thing,” Dozier said.

An ongoing scene

In his opening statement Wednesday morning, Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Mike Morrison admitted that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s initial crime scene processing was not up to snuff.

“They were not thorough, they did not stay long enough,” Morrison said, in part.

The extent of those omissions have become clearer since.

Special Agent Jessica Wilson, a crime scene specialist, testified Thursday that she had logged evidence consisting of six shell casings and six “projectiles,” or bullets. Similar pieces, though, would continue to be found in the home for more than a year.

On March 3, 2012, Nick Jackson I found a .380 shell casing on a basement window sill. He called Norcross police and a sergeant came to pick it up.

On Sept. 10, 2012, Chief Warren Summers was patrolling the city when Nick Jackson I stopped him outside of his house with another shell casing.

According to testimony, yet another shell was found on Feb. 5, 2013, more than a year after Nick Jackson II was killed. The GBI had also returned to Autry Street in August 2012 after investigators from the district attorney’s office found evidence they had missed, attorneys said.

Despite how it looks, Summers said Thursday, the process didn’t seem to be atypical.

“That’s not altogether unusual when you have a crime scene like that,” he said.