DA: Man sentenced to life for 2015 Atlanta drug deal murder

A Fulton County jury has sentenced a 24-year-old to life in prison after officials say he "terrorized" Middle Georgia with multiple robberies and murder.

The Fulton County District Attorney says that the charges against Denzel Atkins stem from an incident on Dec, 22, 2015. On that day, officials say Atkins asked his friend Harold Foster to come with him to Atlanta to "make some money."

After arriving in the city, investigators say the duo met up with 22-year-old Elijah Wallace, allegedly for a marijuana deal.

"Atkins was aware that Wallace sold marijuana and would likely be carrying a significant amount of cash," Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said in a statement.

According to investigators, at the meeting on Astor Avenue Wallace entered the vehicle and handed Atkins a book bag containing marijuana and $20,000. Wallace, noticing a handgun in Atkins' lap, complemented the firearm and showed his own gun off. Just minutes later, after Atkins confirmed the money and drugs, he pointed the gun at Wallace and fired over a dozen times, killing him.

Investigators then say Atkins and Foster dumped Wallace's body along Campbellton Road and drove back to Vidalia, tossing Wallace's shoes, phone, and gun, Atkins gun and both suspects' shirts out of the window while they drove. The car that was used in the crimes, which belonged to Foster's girlfriend, was found the next day in Montgomery, Alabama with evidence that someone tried to burn it, officials said.

During the investigation, police identified and arrested Foster in Decatur on Jan. 20, 2016. Less than a month later, Atkins was arrested in Savannah hiding in a friend's attic.

Officials say that the murder of Wallace wasn't the only crime that Atkins is suspected of committing. In 2014, Atkins was tried for murder in Candler County. He was not convicted in that after a jury deadlock.

"We believe Atkins has been involved in the robberies and murders of four to five victims in our area," Hayward Altman, District Attorney of the Middle Judicial Circuit of Georgia, said in a statement. "This defendant has terrorized our community for far too long."

A jury convicted Atkins of murder, felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal attempt to purchase marijuana, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional life sentence plus 15 years.

The case against Foster is still active in the Fulton County Superior Court.