APD has solved 16 cold cases this year

The new(ish) complex and cold case unit lays fresh eyes on old cases

Yesterday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced his office was indicting 30-year-old repeat offender Torico Montavius Jackson for a murder that was committed more than seven years ago.

According to Lt. Paul Guerrucci, Atlanta Police Department's homicide commander, it's the 16th cold case that's been solved this year by a new(ish) unit tasked with looking with fresh eyes at unsolved murder cases.

In May, 2004, John Ray, a paralegal employed by Fulton County, was repeatedly stabbed, then bound and left to die inside his Lakewood Heights apartment. Unfortunately for homicide investigators, the scene had been cleaned — apparently, when they responded three days after the killing, the house still smelled of bleach — and leads eventually dried up.

Then, in January of this year, APD brass reassigned four investigators and formed the complex and cold case unit, which would use "new technology and innovative techniques" to solve murder cases that had stalled out. Ray's was one of the first they looked at, and rather than new evidence or police capabilities, they found their suspect by re-examining details that had simply been overlooked to that point.

One such detail was that Ray had a printout of Jackson's Georgia Department of Corrections inmate profile in his briefcase, and friends said Ray would normally check the backgrounds of potential boyfriends. Then there was the bleach-stained red Roca Wear sweatshirt found at the scene, which had presumably been used to clean up the scene. Jackson, just so happens to be wearing an identical sweatshirt in his state-issued ID photo.

Lt. Guerrucci is out of the office, and APD spokesman Carlos Campos was unsure how many of the 16 solved cases had led to indictments.

Jackson is currently in Valdosta State Prison — where he was serving a term for unrelated charges — and will presumably remain there until he's tried for Ray's murder.