$10K reward offered for tips in deadly home invasion

Authorities are now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in a Butts County home invasion that resulted in a man’s death.

Sheriff Gary Long said Crime Stoppers matched a $5,000 reward offered by his office to help catch Derrick Denson’s killer. Denson, 40, was fatally shot Jan. 2 when three men forced their way into his home on Shoemaker Street in Jackson.

“I don’t think they went into that house with the intention to commit a murder,” Long told AJC.com on Thursday. “I think they went with the intention to commit a robbery, and unfortunately as a result of their actions, the victim was struck.”

RELATED: Man shot in front of child during deadly Butts County home invasion

The men told Denson and his adult nephew to get on the ground and demanded cash, according to investigators. Denson’s 13-year-old niece, who has learning delays, was in the home at the time but it is believed she was not directly targeted during the ordeal.

They had already complied with the intruders’ demands when Denson was shot. One of the gunmen hit Denson’s nephew in the back of the head with a pistol, and the gun went off, striking Denson, Long said.

He later died at an area hospital.

The sheriff said they are waiting for the GBI Crime Lab to finish processing evidence and are beginning to go through other technology-based evidence in the case.

“I feel confident that we will, in time, make an arrest, but we're just not there yet,” he said.

Lester Clark, Denson’s cousin, told Channel 2 Action News he does not know why his family was targeted. In Jackson, a city of less than 5,000 people, Clark said his family is well-known.

“It’s a small town, you know, everybody knows everybody,” he said. “So someone do know something.”

Long is hoping the reward will encourage more tipsters to come forward. Sheriff’s investigators have already talked to several people and are working through that information.

Credit: Butts County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Butts County Sheriff's Office

No tip is too small, Long said. Even perceived rumors could be beneficial to the investigation.

“If they think it’s a rumor, then let us track it down and determine it is a rumor,” he said. “... Everything we can get to attach to the evidence we have will just make it a stronger case.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Brad Hamby at 770-775-8216.

Tipsters can remain anonymous by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

—Please return to AJC.com for updates.