UPATOI MURDER TRIAL RECAP: After a week of testimony, the State - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

UPATOI MURDER TRIAL RECAP: After a week of testimony, the State prepares to rest

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

More testimony is expected in the Upatoi triple murder trial after a week of high emotions from witnesses in the courtroom.

Seventeen-year-old Rufus Burks is standing trial for the brutal murders of Gloria Short, her son Caleb, and granddaughter Gianna Lindsey,  who were killed in January 2016.

Burks is charged with murder, kidnapping, burglary and auto theft. 

After Raheam Gibson and Javarceay Tapley plead guilty last week, Burks is the only suspect standing trial.

Hours have been spent listening to testimony and reviewing evidence. 

Portions of newly introduced evidence this week show the victims were bound with tape, bludgeoned over the head with a 20-pound dumbbell, and left in pools of blood. 

"They've been beaten, they've been beaten.. who would do this to my family?" said Robert Short during an emotional 911 call with dispatchers.

Short found his family members in their Upatoi home after returning from work, January 4.

Facebook messages taken from Burks' phone also proves Burks and Tapley later had items stolen from the residence and a plan to remain silent.

The three suspects, including Javarceay Tapley, Rufus Burks, and Raheam Gibson traveled to the Upatoi home on a moped and bike from south Columbus. The journey took over three hours to complete.

"Me and Rufus would ride down the highway, then he would pick up Javarceay. Then I would have to walk. He would come back and pick me up, just that cycle," testified co-defendant, Raheam Gibson.

Burks' attorney, Jennifer Curry, fought for her client who faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"Those phone records, we hope to support Mr. Burks wasn't there. He didn't know what Javarceay Tapley was capable of, or what he planned to do," said Curry during opening statements.

Prosecutors expect to finish presenting evidence in the murder trial Monday after a medical examiner testifies about the autopsies of Gloria Short, Caleb Short, and Gianna Lindsey.

The trial resumes Monday morning at 9 a.m.

To follow coverage of the trial, click here. 

Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

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