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Trial, key piece of evidence interrupted by medical emergency

Michael Earl Davis

Michael Earl Davis

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Reco Dehaven West

LAWRENCEVILLE — The jury in Courtroom 1E was focused Friday afternoon, intent on deciphering the poor-quality, code- and slang-laden jailhouse phone call being played overhead.

It was the most damning piece of evidence against the final two men tied to the home invasion that left 15-year-old Nick Jackson II dead — a recording of defendant Reco Dehaven West talking about the plan, the shooting and his co-conspirators. In the call made on Feb. 3, 2012, the day after the murder, West had just finished explaining that one of the other men had killed Jackson, “the little homie,” for “no reason.”

Then the defendant’s sister had a seizure.

As the recording played, the young woman stood up in the courtroom’s third row, seized up and collapsed. Gwinnett County Judge Tom Davis immediately excused the jury and evacuated the room.

Sheriff’s deputies tended to the woman, who had been in the courtroom much of the week to support her brother, until paramedics arrived. In what was believed to be a merely precautionary move, she was taken to the hospital.

Davis adjourned proceedings for the day — but not before West’s phone calls implicated him and others in the fatal event, a would-be robbery fueled by rumors of money and drugs stashed inside the Norcross home by Nick Jackson II’s father, a now-convicted cocaine trafficker.

In the initial call played Friday, West, who is on trial alongside co-defendant Michael Earl Davis, used code words to say he had a gun during the incident but didn’t fire.

“You had a condom on you?” the man on the other end of the line asked.

“Yup,” West said.

“Your condom didn’t bust, did it?” the man asked.

“Hell no it didn’t,” West responded.

West told his friend that “Cat Eyes” and “Amare Stoudamire” — co-defendants Anthony Lumpkin and Jason Dozier — did fire shots and called them “rookies” and “scared.” He said Jackson II’s death was “unnecessary.”

West also confirmed that the group had known Jackson II, who was shot through the heart while barricading his bedroom door, was a youngster before shots were fired. Jackson had seen them at the basement door before fleeing.

“The mouse probably seen the cheese outside,” West said. “… He closed the door.”

A total of seven men were charged in connection with Jackson II’s death, and all but West and Davis have entered guilty pleas or been convicted.

Though neither man is accused of firing shots during the incident, both West and Davis are accused of being armed and part of the four-man crew that entered the Jackson home on the evening of Feb. 2, 2012. Both are facing charges including malice murder and five counts of felony murder.

The prosecution will resume, and likely conclude, presenting its case Monday.