Heath Jackson's murderer, Ricardo Strozier, linked to Troup County armed robbery

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 15, 2013 

Ricardo Strozier, the man who shot and killed local DJ Heath Jackson, has been linked to a March 2010 armed robbery, according to Troup County officials.

Sheriff investigators said Tuesday that critical DNA evidence was recovered from the scene at The Money Bank, 4630 Hamilton Road. During the robbery, police said at least two suspects used a handgun to rob the store.

After the DNA was recovered, it was sent to the GBI lab for analysis. The results linked Strozier to the crime, officials said.

Strozier is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after he fatally shot Jackson six months after this alleged armed robbery. Troup County investigators said Tuesday they will seek charges for the crime in their county.

Once facing the death penalty, Strozier pleaded guilty in May to Jackson's homicide and a string of related crimes. As part of his plea agreement, he also relinquished any right to appeal.

During that same hearing, District Attorney Julia Slater described Strozier as a serial burglar, who once operated in the North Highlands area before targeting homes near Lakebottom Park.

Around lunchtime on Sept. 7, 2010, Strozier broke into Jackson’s 1667 Carter Ave. home by smashing a window on a side kitchen door, reaching in and unlocking it. He had begun to gather valuables to take, piling them on beds, when Jackson came home.

Armed with a five-shot, snub-nose, .38-caliber revolver taken in an earlier Lakebottom-area burglary, Strozier held Jackson at gunpoint in a bedroom, and began to tie Jackson with a sheet.

But Jackson struggled free, and Strozier, who never had a car when committing burglaries because a strange car would arouse neighbors’ suspicions, feared he could not afford to let Jackson get away, Slater said.

So he shot Jackson — repeatedly, emptying the gun as Jackson fled.

Jackson was shot three times in the back, once in the back of his left arm and once in the back of the head. He got out the kitchen door and down the steps, and made it to the front of an adjacent carport before he collapsed and died, a sheet still tied around his wrist, Slater said.

Along with those to which he pleaded guilty to in May, Strozier in 2010 is believed to have burglarized these residences:

•402 49th St., on June 30.

•1002 43rd St., on July 24.

•10 Hemlock St., Apartment B, on July 28.

•3804 First Ave., on Aug. 2.

•4219 17th Ave., on Aug. 3.

•4315 Third Ave., on Aug. 11.

•1900 Hill St., on Aug. 12.

•1260 Munro Ave., on Aug. 26.

Beyond life without parole for Jackson’s murder, Superior Court Judge Gil McBride gave Strozier a consecutive life sentence for armed robbery and two five-year consecutive sentences for using a firearm to commit a crime. Other sentences were to be served concurrently with his life sentence. Attorneys said the end result is that Strozier, 24, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Tim Chitwood contributed to this report.

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