Trial begins for 2014 murder of alleged ‘drug trafficking kingpin’

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Attorneys calling the details of this case, "something you would see straight out of a movie."

A Chatham County jury heard opening statements Monday afternoon in the murder trial of a 21-year-old North Carolina man whose body was found near King George Boulevard in December 2014.

Investigators say in an attempt to become more powerful and a "kingpin" in the nation's major drug trade, Kevin Palmer shot and killed William Whitsett. The man who had come to Savannah to set up a marijuana trafficking hub in the area.

Palmer was actually working for Whitsett but wanted what he had.

When Whitsett came in town back in December of 2014 to make a delivery, investigators say Palmer acted alone in killing Whitsett and dumping his body.

Originally Palmer's girlfriend, Genevieve Meeks, and neighbor, Bradley Bates, a military police officer, were both originally charged with murder. But investigators later dropped the murder charges when they realized Palmer was the only one responsible.

Whitsett had a reputation of traveling the country making drug deliveries. He had even been caught with more than 15 pounds of drugs in Texas at one point.

Investigators said Palmer wanted Whitsett's drug connections and power, so when Whitsett was in town making a drug delivery investigators say Palmer shot Will with his own gun, dumped his body and then attempted to hide the crime from Meeks and Bates.

Investigators say Palmer also stole the rest of Whitsett's inventory and started selling his drugs.

"This defendant saw it as an opportunity to realize what he saw himself as some sort of Scarface, some sort of drug kingpin and move up and take over the position that Whitsett had to make that money for himself," said Chatham County Assistant District Attorney, Matthew Breedon.

"They don't have any DNA evidence. They don't have any blood in my client's apartment," said Defense Attorney Michael Schiavone.

The Chatham County District Attorney's Office will call their first witness Tuesday at 9 am.

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