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Club Jackson shooting trial begins
Thomas Lee Jones Jr. - photo by Special
    Trial began Monday for a man accused of killing another man a year ago at an Old Register Road night club.
    Thomas Lee Jones Jr., 21, East Clifton Avenue, Lyons, appeared before a jury and Bulloch County Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed Monday. Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Daphne Jarriel, prosecutor, said the trial is expected to  last three to four days.
    Julius Issac McReynolds, 19, Hephzibah, died shortly after being shot around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 2007, at Club Jackson’s. It was Homecoming weekend for Georgia Southern University, and a “hip-hop” event was taking place at the club.
    Formerly known as Legends Bar and Grill, once owned by Statesboro City Councilman Will Britt, the club has a record of violent incidents, including other murders.
    McReynolds’s death was the second homicide that took place there within five years, and was the third shooting incident within that period, according to reports.
    On Sept. 8, 2002, a man was killed in a shooting at Club Legend. On Oct. 2, 2005, Georgia Southern University basketball players were injured in a shooting incident.
    Britt was on the scene Oct. 27 when McReynolds was shot. He told the Statesboro Herald Oct. 29 he was there visiting friends and was outside talking to  Statesboro Police Lieutenant Anthony Gore, who was on routine patrol and stopped at the club to make contact with Maurice Jackson, club owner.
    Jackson said in an interview that day he had walked back inside, where “hip-hop night” events including a cookout, were taking place.
    He broke up a small altercation and his employees, some of 30 bouncers he hired for the night, evicted an offender later identified as Jones, he said. “They put the guy  out and I thought it was over with, then I heard several shots.”
    Jackson immediately put the club on lockdown, he said.
    McReynolds ran to a business next to Club Jackson, and investigators found he was struck several times in the leg, ankle and back. Bulloch County EMS transported McReynolds to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, “where he was treated and pronounced dead,” according to reports.
    The victim’s body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Savannah where an autopsy revealed he died of the gunshot wound to the upper back, reports said.
    The trial resumes today at 9 a.m. in Peed’s courtroom at the Bulloch County Annex.

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