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Detectives still seek leads in vacant Kmart killing

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Clayton County homicide detectives have put up posters along Cleveland Avenue in Atlanta, looking for information.

Detectives have talked to homeless people and street people, and they're offering a reward for information, but they still know very little about what happened to Randy Jones, a man known as "Red," who was found dead two weeks ago.

"I'm getting to the point now, where I have nothing," said Tom Martin, the Clayton County Police detective heading the homicide investigation. "I really need a lead on this case."

Jones, a 49-year-old unemployed man, who lived on Springside Drive in Southeast Atlanta, was found shot to death in the parking lot of a vacant shopping plaza on Aug. 25.

"He wasn't hidden," Martin said. "He was just lying there by the kudzu. We know he was shot there, because we found the shell casings."

Jones was shot several times, and an autopsy showed that was the cause of death. The body was discovered at the 6200 Frontage Road vacant, former Kmart shopping center, at about 10:30 a.m. It was found by a road-construction worker, Martin said.

Jones had his wallet on him, with identification, and was missing nothing but his shoes, a fact detectives can't yet explain.

Using the man's identification, Martin and other Clayton detectives, working with the Atlanta Police Department, were able to find the address where he lived with his mother, and learn a little bit about the murdered man. He was, Martin said, known to be a crack cocaine user who would disappear for days at a time. He was living on a weekly, $42 unemployment check. He was last seen the Friday before his body was found, at a liquor store on Cleveland Avenue.

According to a homeless man claiming to have seen Jones that night, the 49-year-old got into a tan-colored, two-door car, in exchange for a promise of $100.

The man in the car reportedly came to the liquor store, Martin said, and asked the homeless man to come with him to Clayton County and "watch his back" for $100. The homeless man reportedly told police he didn't feel good about the man or the offer, but then Jones stood up and said, "I'll do it."

Martin said he doesn't know if Jones was set up, if something went wrong, or what happened after he got into the tan-colored car on Friday night. "If someone gave him $100, he didn't have it on him," Martin said. "There are homeless people telling us what kind of car he got into, but that's it."

Clayton police have sent information about Jones' murder to Crime Stoppers Atlanta, and are hoping some media attention and the organization's offer of a reward will bring in some information and solid leads.

Martin said he's also trying to see if Jones had any past connections to Clayton County.

"If anyone had any contact with Randy Jones in Clayton County -- they call him 'Red' and he's from Atlanta -- I'd like to know," Martin said.

Martin can be reached at (770) 477-3635.