The body of Jerry L. Moore was found lying near a blood-splattered cardboard box of Christmas lights just before the Atlanta’s Snowmageddon of 2014.
On Monday, a Cobb County jury found Johnathan Allan Wheeler guilty of malice murder and other charges in Moore’s death, according to Kimberly Isaza, spokeswoman for the Cobb district attorney.
Wheeler was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole, Isaza said.
The trial began Aug. 8, but went on break until last Monday while the judge was at a work conference.
During opening arguments prosecutor Jesse Evans explained the killing — “one of the most brutal murders you’ll see” — as motivated by greed.
Moore, who was 46 when he was killed, invested in the Best Dang Bakery Around in Woodstock, where Wheeler briefly worked making European pastries.
Correspondence shortly before the killing showed Moore wasn’t happy with how the business was running and wanted to get out, Evans said.
At the bakery Wheeler met Moore’s roommate, whom Evans described as an “uncharged co-conspirator” and helped Wheeler plan the murder.
Kevin Rodgers, the attorney representing Wheeler, told The AJC after opening statements that he too didn’t know why the roommate wasn’t charged.
Rodgers was not able to comment about the trial when called Tuesday because he was in court, according to an employee at his office.
The knife Wheeler used — a large, fixed-blade knife etched with the words “Redneck Toothpick” — was never found by police.
Wheeler used a similar knife during an armed robbery and attempted robbery of a Taco Bell in Cherokee and a Shell in Cobb in 2000. He spent about a decade in prison for those crimes.
Wheeler’s cousin was described as the state’s main witness in the murder trial. Prosecutors said Wheeler confessed the killing to her. She was sentenced on tampering and burglary charges in 2016 for cleaning up the home and stealing Moore’s TV, computer and car keys.
As part of her sentence, she agreed to testify against Wheeler.
Wheeler also confessed to his brother and stepfather, both of whom testified.
In other news...