A 14-year-old Georgia boy accused of setting up a robbery and fatally shooting a Papa John’s pizza delivery driver in March appeared in court Monday for the first day of his murder trial, local media reports.
Reginald Lofton, who has been charged as an adult, is facing charges of murder, felony murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault in connection to the murder of Shane Varnadore, according to The Atlanta Journal- Constitution.
Varnadore was discovered by police on March 1 outside a Lawrenceville, Georgia, apartment complex. The 28-year-old was killed while delivering pizza to the complex shortly before midnight, a Gwinnett County official told the paper.
According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, Varnadore was hit with a single bullet from a .40-caliber handgun. He was dead when police arrived on the scene. Less than 24 hours later, police arrested Lofton and co-defendant Jermaine Young, 21, for Varnadore’s killing.
At a hearing in late March, detectives testified that either Lofton or Young called Papa John’s to order pizza.
It is unclear what unfolded when Varnadore arrived. (During questioning the defendants’ stories changed.) When authorities responded to a 911 call for a gunshot, they found Varnadore on the ground with an empty pizza carrier, the Post reports.
It appeared the motive for the killing was robbery and Varnadore had been set up.
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During a search of Lofton and his brother’s apartment, detectives testified, investigators found one pizza box in plain view and three others hidden behind the home’s washer and dryer.
The gun allegedly used to kill Varnadore was found hidden in a box of pancake mix.
Detectives testified that hours before the slaying, Lofton posted pictures of himself holding a gun on Facebook, the AJC reports.
Speaking to WSB-TV, Teresa Varnadore said her son was “just out there trying to make a living” when he was killing.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” she continued.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by the victim’s family, Varnadore was very close with his family — especially his niece.
“Shane shared a very special relationship with his niece, Celeste,” a family member wrote on the page. “We feel that Shane would have wanted those wishing to make a contribution to contribute to her future.”
“I want to face the person who could do this to my son,” Varnadore told Channel 2. “His life was taken for absolutely no reason. I can’t imagine what my life is going to be like without my son.”
The Gwinnett District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment. It is unclear whether Lofton or Young have entered pleas or have been appointed attorneys.