Triple homicide trial begins in Savannah following 2015 murders

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Day one of a triple homicide trial wrapped up at the Chatham County Courthouse, Monday afternoon.

James Hampton and Dwayne Abney are facing over 40 counts of charges including malice murder for the deaths of three young adults; 21-year-old Kiana Marshall, 19-year-old Alexis Kitchens, and 18-year-old Corey Martin. The three were found dead in a home on Lynah Street in October 2015 after Marshall told roommate Diamond Butler she had to move out. That's when Butler involved Hampton and Abney.

Within the first few minutes of the prosecution's opening statement, the judge had to clear the gallery because of how distraught the families were. Emotions were high when Abney and Hampton walked into the courtroom.

The prosecution says Hampton shot and killed three people inside the home while Butler waited outside and Abney walked around with a weapon. They claim Hampton physically shot all three victims, firing nine shots, but say Abney was there with a weapon and made threats to shoot them. Abney's attorney says he shouldn't take the fall for what Hampton did.

"I can tell you now, we got somebody in this case that's going to pay and he's sitting right over there. There he is right over there. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming on that guy but there is reasonable doubt in this case against Mr. Dwayne Abney," said attorney, Richard Darden.

The prosecution called eight witnesses to the stand including neighbors and a former cellmate of Hampton's.

Butler has already plead guilty for her role and will testify against both Hampton and Abney in the coming days. Court will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.