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25-year-old shot to death at his front door

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A 25-year-old man was shot to death, New Year's day, in what police are calling "a sort-of home invasion."

James Ellison answered the front door of his 4312 Oak Lane home, outside Forest Park, at about 11 p.m., Tuesday, Clayton County Police said. He was then shot in the head with a .45.

When police arrived, Ellison, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans, was lying in the doorway, and blood was staining the carpet by "the front door, on the threshold and on the stairs of the porch," according to Officer Gary Flinn's report.

Ellison did not have a pulse, at 11:15 p.m., his pupils were fixed and dilated and he was not breathing. Medics pronounced the 25-year-old dead at the scene.

Police found two .45-caliber shell casings and the lead from one bullet on the floor next to the dead man's body, along with a green bag believed to contain two rocks of crack cocaine.

"There was a strong odor of both burning and unburned marijuana throughout the residence," Flinn reported.

Police believe the murder was drug-related, department spokesman Capt. Greg Dickens said, and are looking for the man or men who allegedly invaded the Oak Lane home.

A juvenile living at the residence told police he was asleep at the time. He heard someone banging on the door and heard two men enter. A "heavy-set black male, wearing a mask and a blue jacket with an orange liner" kicked open his bedroom door and pointed a gun at him in bed, he told police.

He told the armed man, "I'm just 14," and the man left the room.

The juvenile ran into his mother's bedroom, and found 50-year-old Janis Sheilds hiding in the closet, according to Flinn. The woman told police she hid in the closet when she heard the loud noise at the front door.

When she and her son heard a gunshot, they feared for their lives and climbed from the bedroom window, running to a neighbor's house and calling 911, Sheilds told police.

Homicide detectives were following leads and investigating the 25-year-old's death, Wednesday, but had not yet named a suspect.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call Detective Michael Christian at (678) 610-4792.