3 convicted in drug dealer’s revenge killing

The man accused of being the gunman in a 2010 shooting that killed a 19-year-old and injured a 2-year-old pleaded guilty this week, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said.

Eric Stone’s guilty plea followed those of his cohorts, Richard Varner, 25, the getaway driver, and Deandre Lowe, 19, the man who coordinated the hit in the shooting death of Ladeddrick Love, the DA’s office said. Stone pleaded guilty as charged to murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during a felony, while Varner and Lowe pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

On Sept. 13, 2010, Stone got out of a silver Honda at a Texaco on Martin Luther King Drive, approached a car and started firing an AK-47, according to police. Seated inside the car were Love and Tedra Jordan, also 19, and two small children. Jordan, who was Love’s girlfriend, was pregnant with twins.

Love was struck four times in the chest and later died from his injuries. His girlfriend and the toddler both survived their injuries.

Surveillance video and Crime Stoppers tips identified Stone as the shooter, the DA’s office said. The investigation revealed that Stone was hired to kill Love to avenge a robbery Love allegedly committed against a drug dealer.

Three days before the fatal shooting, there apparently was another attempt on Love’s life when shots were fired into the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. No one was injured during that attempt, but shell casings from that scene matched the ones found on the night of the shooting outside of the gas station, the DA’s office said.

After his guilty plea, Stone was sentenced to life plus five years in prison. Varner and Lowe were each sentenced to 30 years behind bars for their roles in the crime.