If as police claim Michael Jerome "Big Smoove" Johnson gunned down Gold & Silver Trading Center manager Steve Toms while robbing the business, he didn't stick around to finish the job, according to testimony Friday in Johnson's murder trial.
In November 2011, the gold business was booming, jewelry shop owner Bob Upchurch testified.
"It was all you could do to stay ahead of the game," he said. "We were buying so much then. It was different world than today."
On Friday, gold was trading at $1,180 an ounce. In late 2011, it was worth around $1,800 an ounce, and wads of cash were coming in and going out as Upchurch's business bought and sold.
It kept Toms busy.
"He was masterful as a buyer," said Upchurch. "It would be fair to say that he did most of the work."
Then came the morning of Nov. 16, 2011, when Toms arrived at the 3717 Gentian Blvd. shop to find the door unlocked and a cash drawer sitting out on the counter. On the floor lay Toms, 63, shot six times.
Money was missing, as were gold chains and a ring Toms wore. But far much more was still in the store:
An unlocked safe held about $250,000 in cash, Upchurch said. Among the personal items police recovered from the body and later gave Toms' daughter Robin Lake were his Rolex watch, a gold and diamond bracelet, a gold and diamond money clip, two or three rings -- one with "several" diamonds -- and a necklace charm that was a silver coin from a sunken ship, Lake said.
While questioning Lake, Johnson's defense attorney J. Mac Pilgrim noted a police evidence log showed Toms' had $2,300 cash in his pockets.
The evidence indicated whoever shot Toms got out fast. The killer did not stick around to gather all the loot.
Among those testifying Friday was forensic pathologist Steven Atkinson, who detailed Toms' wounds.
One bullet went in the right corner of his mouth, the shot fired so close that "stipling" or gunshot residue peppered his face. That indicates the gun was no more than 24 inches from Toms' head, Atkinson said. A second bullet entered below Toms' left ear, went through his neck and lodged in his right shoulder.
A third went into his right shoulder, fracturing his humerus. A fourth grazed his right shoulder.
A fifth entered below his left collarbone, hit a rib and punctured both his lungs, his aorta and a pulmonary artery, the pathologist said. The sixth shot entered his left chest, hit a rib, punctured his left lung and lodged in his upper back.
Police suspect the gunfire erupted when Toms refused to give the robber a ring he was wearing and grabbed a loaded pistol that later was found by his body.
Among the evidence linking Johnson to the homicide was his left thumb print, which police Sgt. David Jury testified was found on the shop's glass front door.
Investigators believe Toms was killed sometime after 5:31 p.m. the day before Upchurch found the body. Lake testified she was texting her father that afternoon, and that's when they last communicated. The shop typically closed at 6 p.m.
Lake said in her last text, she asked whether her father was headed to Duffy's, a bar he bought in June 2011. He told her he was.
Typically he changed his shirt, got something to eat and arrived at Duffy's before 7 p.m., she said. The bar was just two or three miles from the jewelry store, she said.
After her father's death, Lake inherited the bar. "I attempted to keep it open as long as I could," she said, but to stay in business she had to get a liquor license, and "too much red tape" was involved, so she returned the bar to its previous owner.
Johnson's trial resumes Monday morning in Judge William Rumer's Government Center courtroom.
Johnson is the only defendant charged in Toms' slaying and the Gold & Silver Trading Center robbery.
He and codefendant Dimitrius Morris "Slim Deezy" Gordon together are on trial in armed robberies of the 4227 Victory Drive Diamond Exchange on May 5, 2012, and the 5750 Milgen Road Winn-Dixie on April 11, 2012.