An investigation of more than two years went “cold” before new leads resulted in the capture of a suspect in the early 2017 murder of a Paulding man.

Damon Sherod Hamilton, 31, of Lithonia, was being held in the Paulding County Jail on Aug. 21, on charges of Murder, Aggravated Assault, Burglary and Violation of the Georgia Gang Act.

Hamilton was charged in connection with the January 2017 shooting death of Mark Phillips, 34, inside his home on Crestbend Lane in southeast Paulding, said Sgt. Ashley Henson of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect also is a confirmed member of a criminal street gang within the state of Georgia whose name investigators are not releasing, Henson said.

Henson said on Jan. 13, 2017, at about 12:39 a.m., Paulding sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about a shooting and burglary at 553 Crestbend Lane in the Crestworth Crossing subdivision in unincorporated southeast Paulding County.

Phillips and his wife and children arrived at their residence, walked in the door and “violence erupted in the foyer,” Henson said.

“Phillips was immediately attacked by men who were already inside the home waiting on him to arrive,” he said.

“During the altercation, Phillips was fatally shot to death and the suspects fled on foot. Fortunately, none of his family members were injured during the incident.”

Although sheriff’s detectives and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents had been working on the case since its occurrence, “it had gone cold and there were no viable leads,” Henson said.

However, as a result of a combined investigation between Paulding sheriff’s detectives and GBI agents, some new leads were developed, Henson said.

“Through an exhaustive amount of hours and diligent investigative work, Sheriff Gary Gulledge would like to announce that there has been an arrest made in this case,” Henson said.

He said detectives and GBI agents secured arrest warrants on Hamilton Aug. 12, and deputy marshals with the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Hamilton in Forest Park.

Hamilton was transported back to Paulding County and is currently being held in the Paulding County Jail without bond, Henson said.

Gulledge said he was “pleased that our detectives and GBI agents have not given up on this case.”

“We will continue our investigation into this incident and we expect more arrests in the future,” he said.

“I hope that Mrs. Phillips will have some closure knowing that one of the men responsible for her husband’s death is in jail.”

Henson said detectives and agents want to encourage anyone who may have information about this case to call the Criminal Investigations Division of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office at 770-443-3015.

Crime Stoppers Atlanta also is offering a $2,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest, Henson said. For more information, call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.

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