Trial begins for second suspect in 2013 Thunderbolt double murder

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A double murder trial is underway in Savannah after a couple was found murdered in their Thunderbolt driveway in 2013.

Opening statements started Wednesday morning followed by the first witnesses. Nathaniel Wilkins is facing life in prison without parole if he's convicted.

The couple worked at a downtown Savannah restaurant. On the night of Nov. 3, 2013, 27-year-old Forrest Ison and 24-year-old Alice Stevens went home from a night out in Savannah. Friends and family say it was a dream for the two to open up their own bakery. That's the night they were found shot in their driveway. Ison died there and Stevens died on the way to the hospital.

Lawyers began the second trial in this case inside the Chatham County Courthouse. They convicted Michael Jones as one of the gunmen back in 2016. He is serving two life sentences without parole. Now, Wilkins faces the same charges.

The prosecution says the motive was a petty grudge from work. Wilkins worked for Ison at Brassery 529 before he was fired for burning food. We spoke to some people in the tight-knit food industry here in Savannah. Nobody wanted to go on camera, but they did say they were shocked when this happened.

The defense says Tracey Wilkins, the defendant's sister as well as the already convicted Jones' ex-girlfriend, will take the stand. She was indicted for her role as the getaway driver, but she took a plea deal to testify against Jones in 2016. The state says Tracey will testify that the two shot the Thunderbolt couple even as Alice Stevens begged for her life.

Prosecutors say they plan to show throughout the trial two types of bullet casings were found. Wednesday, Jones was called to the stand and put on the record, but he refused to answer any questions or testify against Wilkins. Technically, he didn't have a viable reason to deny the court's questions, but Judge James Bass said the court would hold him in contempt. Here is what he said, verbatim.

'I'm serving two life sentences without parole. What's contempt?'

Just like that, he stepped down from the stand.

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