Jury begins deliberations in Carver Village triple murder trial
The jury started deliberations in the October 2015 Carver Village triple murder case late Thursday afternoon. The panel of 13 jurors will decide the fate of James Hampton and Dwayne Abney.
The state and both defenses rested their cases early Thursday morning. All sides then began closing arguments.
"You're not here to help the state; you're not here to help either one of these defendants. You're here to seek the truth," state attorney Christy Barker said.
Prosecutors told jurors one final time they believe James Hampton and Dwayne Abney killed Alexis Kitchens, Kiana Marshall, and Corey Marshall.
"All of the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart," she said.
The state alleges Kiana Marshall told her roommate Diamond Butler to move out on Oct. 21, 2015 after she had not paid rent.
The state claims this upset Butler and Butler told Hampton to "shoot up the house." However, the prosecution believes Hampton instead shot and killed all three people with Abney's help.
Prosecutors presented ammunition linking Hampton to the crime scene and a photo found on Hampton's phone the night of the killings showing Hampton holding a high point gun they believe was used in the murders.
Hampton's attorney still stands by his client's innocence. "There is no evidence that has been presented to you that ties these items to my client," Solomon Amusan, Hampton's attorney, said.
As for the letters the prosecution claims Hampton sent Abney in jail detailing an alibi, Abney's lawyer said Abney had no reason to respond because he did not commit the murders.
"For them to get up here and suggest to you that they communicated is just simply not true," Richard Darden, Abney's lawyer, said.
Prosecutors closed saying Butler's hasty decision to "shoot up the house," leading to the triple murder has sadly become a norm in Savannah. Lead attorney, Matthew Breedon, said this is a norm that needs to change.
"A verdict that remembers Corey, a verdict that remembers Kiana, a verdict that remembers Alexis, and there is absolutely no doubt that that verdict is you are guilty of every crime you are charged with," he said.
Judge Louisa Abbot charged the jury around 3 p.m. and the jury entered into deliberations around 4 p.m.
Judge Abbot relieved the jury just before 6 p.m. The jury requested to review the evidence.
Court will reconvene Friday morning.