Witnesses begin testimony in Savannah man's murder trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

First day of murder trial starts with witnesses' testimony

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Shan Cheley in court Shan Cheley in court

It's day one of the trial for a man charged with the 2012 slaying of an 18 year old. 

Shan Cheley is charged with murder in connection with Amber Deloach's death.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police say Cheley strangled Deloach to death in September 2012.

During opening arguments, prosecutors assured the jury they were going to prove that Deloach was a victim of rape and malice murder.

The defense says Deloach consented to being intimate with Cheley, but that they were going to prove that she not murdered by him.

Three witnesses took the stand: Deloach's friend, a fire captain who discovered the body and an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

One of the last people to see Deloach alive was her friend Brandon Price.

Capt. Marvin Thomas with Savannah Fire and Emergency Services testified about the burning car he and his crews responded to on Sept. 30, 2012.

Investigators found Amber in a burning car off Oglethorpe Avenue in September of last year. Firefighters testified that when they first got on the scene,  the car was engulfed in flames.   

Investigators said they also smelled gasoline as well as another odor. It wasn't until Thomas went to the trunk that he realized what that other odor was.  

"That's when I noticed a knee, a body part, so I closed it down and then I gave directions to my other firefighters as far as what I wanted them to do,"  said Thomas.

When firefighters found her in the trunk of the burning car Deloach had been wrapped in a blanket.

Firefighters determined the fire was set in three different places: the gas cap, the trunk and the passenger compartment.

Even though Deloach was found in a burning car, the medical examiner tesified that she died from strangulation.

Dr. Edmond Donoghue said they also found cocaine and alcohol in Amber's her system when they did the autopsy.

He says he found 35 external injuries on Deloach, including gashes to her face and some burns from the fire.

The trial will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

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