When Michael Jones went to collect $10 that David Thacker owed a family member in 2014, Jones ended up stabbing Thacker in the back, Gwinnett County police Sgt. John Richter said.
A week later, Thacker killed Jones and dumped the body at his childhood home, Richter said at a Wednesday hearing. Jones was considered missing until a hunter found his skull and femur in the Auburn woods in 2016.
Thacker is charged with murder and aggravated assault in connection with Jones’ death. He was arrested in June, more than four years after the 54-year-old Jones was reported missing by his brother. Police believe Jones was killed on March 29, 2014.
Jones went to reclaim the $10 debt about a week before he was last seen, Richter said. The two men got into an argument over the money, which turned physical and culminated in the stabbing, according to Richter. When Thacker was arrested this year, he told police that it was more of a scratch than a stab, but still had a scar, which he showed investigators, Richter said.
Thacker was angry about the fight in the following days, Richter said. On March 29, Thacker was at another friend’s house in Buford when Jones came over. The friend was going to fix Jones’ phone. When the friend left Jones and Thacker alone, Thacker hit Jones over the head with an object, killing him, Richter said.
The friend helped put Jones’ body in a car, and Thacker drove it to the wooded area in Auburn where Jones’ bones would later be found, Richter said. Thacker told police that he had lived on the property with his parents when he was younger.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not naming the friend because he has not been charged with a crime.
Months later, Thacker was arrested at a Barrow County Walmart, charged with shoplifting. He was driving Jones’ Kia Sedona and told police that he and Jones had traded cars.
After Thacker’s shoplifting arrest, Gwinnett County police interviewed him about Jones, who was missing at the time. Thacker told police that it was the friend who killed Jones, Richter said. Thacker said the friend killed Jones while Thacker was inside the house, and that he had helped the friend put Jones’ body in a car.
Soon after, the friend went to investigators to say that Thacker was the killer. In 2018, a former cellmate of Thacker’s at the Barrow County jail told Gwinnett County investigators that Thacker had told him about killing Jones after the stabbing.
Thacker remains in the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond. The issue of bond was not addressed at Wednesday’s hearing and will be considered by Gwinnett County Superior Court at a later date.
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