The youngest of four teenage suspects indicted last month in the slaying of a security guard at a local grocery store will be tried as an adult.
Tavarius Jackson, 17, of Buford, faces two counts of armed robbery, one count of aggravated assault, one count of murder and two counts of felony murder.
Also indicted on the same charges were Sharod Johnson, 18, and Tyrice Kendall Adside and Nakitta Holmes, both 19.
Johnson and Adside are from Forsyth County.
Holmes, who is from Buford, was also indicted on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The four were arrested days after the late-night Sept. 5 armed robbery and shooting of 37-year-old David Casto of Winder, who was working at Ingles on Canton Road.
Authorities have said Casto was shot execution style with his own 9 mm weapon while bound with duct tape in the store. The suspects have also been accused of taking the guard’s bulletproof vest.
Authorities have maintained that Holmes was the gunman.
Jackson appeared Wednesday morning before Forsyth County Superior Court Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley.
Because he was 16 at the time of his arrest, his name had not previously been released and he had been held at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville.
Forsyth County District Attorney Penny Penn told Bagley that since Jackson has turned 17, the Georgia Attorney General’s Office has taken issue with him being kept with juveniles.
“He is being treated as an adult,” Penn said. “This is a Superior Court case.”
She asked Bagley to vacate a previous order that would’ve allowed Jackson to stay in Gainesville, so he can be transferred to the Forsyth County Detention Center.
Citing concerns for his client’s safety, Jackson’s attorney, Louis Turchiarelli, asked Bagley to deny Penn’s request.
“I’m concerned about the nature of the case and the individuals involved in the case,” Turchiarelli said. “I believe he’s in a safer place and I don’t want anything to happen to him.”
Penn countered that she trusts the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, will keep Jackson separate from the other suspects.
Noting the severity of the situation, Penn reminded the court that Jackson is “not being held on some shoplifting charge.”
Bagley sided with the prosecution.
“I can certainly understand why the attorney general’s office is up in arms about this ... he is now an adult and he is charged with a capital crime,” Bagley said.
Johnson, Adside and Holmes have not been arraigned.
An attachment included in the indictment shows that the Grand Jury found three “statutory aggravating circumstances” against Holmes.
Penn has said those circumstances make the suspect eligible for the death penalty, though she has not said whether she will seek it.
All four suspects are being held without bond.
They, along with 19-year-old Darren Jarrod Slayton, of 4211 Preston Point Way, were also indicted on one count of armed robbery in connection with a holdup Aug. 26 at a Chevron on Buford Highway.
Adside, Johnson and Slayton were also indicted on one count each of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault for an Aug. 25 incident at a Waffle House on Bethelview Road.