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Man indicted in
card-game killing case

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

A few days after his 21st birthday, Jonathan Lavonta Slack was indicted on charges that he murdered an 18-year-old during an early-morning card game.

The Clayton County grand jury passed down an indictment on Wednesday, alleging Slack "unlawfully and with malice aforethought [caused] the death of Travis Scott, a human being, by shooting said Travis Scott with a certain handgun."

Clayton County police and prosecutors allege Slack shot Scott in the forehead with a 9 mm on Sept. 10 at 6 a.m., in a gang-affiliated apartment at 5420 Riverdale Road. The two men, along with about a half dozen others, spent the night in apartment B-4, playing spades, drinking and doing drugs, according to witnesses' statements to police.

Witnesses told detectives Slack got up and walked out of the room, after the shooting, "as if nothing had really happened."

Original reports of the murder suggested the shooting was baffling, and didn't really have an explanation or motivation. The warrant application filed by the police notes there "was no justification for his act. They were playing cards."

At a probable cause hearing, though, Detective Michael Medious said he heard there were rumors of a debt -- possibly $500, possibly $1,000, possibly from a tax scam -- owed to one of Slack's friends by one of Scott's relatives. But it wasn't clear, according to Medious, that the debt was related to the shooting.

At the Riverdale Road apartment on the night of Sept. 9 and into the morning of Sept. 10, witnesses reported that everyone was getting along fine, before Scott tried to leave the card game, was told to sit down, and got up anyway.

After Scott was shot in the forehead in the kitchen, Slack reportedly walked into the living room and fired twice at another man, who is known to the police only as "Red," and hasn't been identified or located.

When Slack was arrested, in Atlanta, he reportedly explained "he didn't really mean for what happened to happen," but did not confess to the killing.

At the probable cause hearing in October, Slack's attorney, Steve Frey, said the man was guilty of being involved in a "beehive of criminal activity," just like the murdered teen, but Frey argued there was no evidence Slack murdered anyone.

Slack's next court date has not been set. He is facing a possible sentence of life in prison.