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Lead detective in Carver Village triple murder case takes stand in trial's third day

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The lead detective investigating the 2015 Carver Village triple murder of Alexis Kitchens, Kiana Marshall, and Corey Marshall testified before the jury Wednesday in the murder trial's third day. (Credit: Josie Gregory)

The lead detective investigating the 2015 Carver Village triple murder of Alexis Kitchens, Kiana Marshall, and Corey Marshall testified before the jury Wednesday in the murder trial's third day.

Detective Allison Nichols with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department testified she backs up Diamond Butler's accounts the night the three were murdered inside a home on Lynah Street on Oct. 22, 2015.

Nichols supported Butler's claims James Hampton and Dwayne Abney conspired to kill them.

"She stated that they got back, she saw them with their guns. She said that James was sweating and shaking, and at one point she was hugging up on him and that's when he whispered in her ear that he killed all three," Nichols said.

Nichols also testified she supported Butler's claims Dwayne Abney did not shoot anyone inside the home. According to Butler's testimony, Abney only pushed Kitchens and told Hampton to kill her.

Nichols also told jurors in her testimony when police executed search warrants where Hampton had been known to live, they found an empty box of Black Hill Ammunition, similar to eight shell casings found at the crime scene, and eight Federal Cartridge bullets, similar to the one shell casing found at the crime scene.

"To find those two, only those two types of 9 mm ammunition inside 764 Yamacraw was huge for us," Nichols said.

Hampton's lawyer argued the prosecution has no physical evidence tying Hampton to the crime scene.

Hampton's lawyer: "You do not have any fingerprints?"

Nichols: "No fingerprints. No, sir."

Hampton's lawyer: "You don't have any DNA?"

Nichols: "No, sir"

Nichols also testified Hampton sent Abney letters while in jail, trying to get their stories of what happened that night to match. Police found one letter in Hampton's cell and two letters in Abney's cell in an envelope with James Hampton's name on it.

Prosecutors allege Hampton sent Abney "steps" of the Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 night so their stories could match.

"We need to get on point about what happened that night so we can come home," Nichols read from a letter to the courtroom.

Abney's lawyer argued the prosecution does not have any proof his client responded to those letters.

Abney's lawyer: "These letters, you don't have one shred of evidence that my client has responded to any of them?"

Nichols: "That's correct."

The jury also heard testimony from the medical examiner in the case as well as ammunition and gun experts Wednesday afternoon.

The defense has one more witness to call Thursday.

Both sides are expected to then give their closing arguments.