ATLANTA - The fifth day of the Henry Mager murder trial moved forward with evidence that allegedly ties Mager to two B&Es, which he confessed to doing, and the murder of Terry Lee. During Monday's testimony, Mager's cell phone records and recorded interviews with Detective Sgt. Mark Harris were used as evidence.
Detective Sgt. Mitch Stephens, MSP technical services unit, received copies of Mager's cell phone records from AT&T, which were used to analyze where Mager's location on Oct. 22-23, 2011, during the time of Lee's murder.
In review of Mager's phone records, Stephens said Mager called or texted Lee 13 times prior to 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 and one additional instance at 9:11 p.m. and does not attempt any contact with Lee on the following day.
"On Oct. 21, 22, and 23 Henry was located around his home, Terry's, and his parents house," Stephens said.
His location was supported by Mager's confession to breaking into Lee's home. However, Mager was recorded saying he spent only 15 minutes at Lee's home. Stephens showed Mager was located near Lee's home for a much longer duration - from approximately 9:20-11:40 p.m. However, Mager consistently continued to deny involvement in Lee's murder.
One of Mager's former cell mates, Floyd Haney, during testimony provided information based on personal conversations he had with Mager throughout May of this year. At first, Haney said he believed Mager had nothing to do with Lee's murder, and assisted in his defense where he admitted to fabricating a story to prove Mager's innocence.
"I believed Henry, that he didn't have anything to do with it ... until a later date," Haney said. "I was told where the .22 Luger was and a plan he had to escape jail."
Haney described "plans" he made with Mager to escape from prison and what would happen after, but said he never intended to fulfill it. Instead, Haney said he gathered information that he later relayed to the police, including the whereabouts of weapons stolen from the Don Ehlers B&E, that were retrieved and located in a ditch near the end of Airport Road and McMurphy Road.
Trooper Charles Collier, who was involved in the investigation of the B&E at Ehlers home and responded to the Lee's death, spoke with Haney on June 16, 2012, about information he acquired about the case.
According to Collier, items stolen during the Ehlers B&E, including a .22 single-action revolver and ammunition, were recovered at the exact location Haney described. However, only one of the stolen pistols was located, wrapped in blue bathing suit trunks, specifically at the southeast corner of McMurphy and Airport roads in Atlanta. The black duffel bag, which was stolen from Ehlers, also was found at the location along with other items from the B&E including an empty cardboard box that allegedly held the gun, and an empty box of ammunition.
Collier said all of the items recovered were identified by Ehlers, except for a pair of gloves. However, the nine millimeter handgun was not recovered. He said all of the items were found at the exact location Haney relayed. The duffel bag and items were found June 16, 2012, but the Ehlers break in occurred Oct. 10, 2011. Collier said the evidence showed signs of decay and was retrieved with leaves and grass growing over evidence, mold, and rust.
Harris also provided evidence of recorded interviews with Mager from Oct. 26, 2011, involving discussions of the B&Es and Lee's death. Mager admits to a seven year opiate addiction, but at that time denied both B&Es, which he later confessed to doing.
A second recorded interview from Oct. 28, 2011, was used Monday where Mager once again denied being involved in the B&Es. The same recording Mager confessed to breaking into and stealing items from Ehlers and Lee's home.
"Initially he denied everything, until he felt it was in his best interest," Harris said.
Harris said he received multiple stories from Mager during the investigation, along with factual evidence, phone records, alibis, and items at the crime scene.
"A blanket was tucked around Terry Lee. Somebody took the time to care for the victim ... basically tucked him in. This is a sign of guilt or remorse from what happened," Harris said. "I received multiple stories; it's an evolving process. I do not believe Henry ever gave the full story."
The case continues today in the Montmorency County Courthouse with defense proofs and closing arguments.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.