SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - UPDATE: The suspect in a Savannah triple murder case will testify in his own defense.
Keith Marrow decided just before court adjourned for the evening on Tuesday that he wants to speak for himself in front of the jury. He admitted to police he killed Shayla Curtis, William Mullins, and Courtney German in an East 31st Street home in April 2017, but argues it was in self-defense.
The lead detective in the case took the stand Wednesday morning. Detective Antwan Diggs with the Savannah Police Department’s Strategic Investigation Unit interviewed suspect Keith Marrow twice about the deadly shootings on East 31st Street. Prosecutors played those interviews for the jury Wednesday morning.
The hours-long video interviews were the first time we heard directly from Marrow about why and how he says he shot and killed the three fellow East Gangster Bloods. In them, he speaks openly to police about killing Curtis, Mullins, and German as they sat around a kitchen table.
“I looked at the .40, and William looked at me. I said a prayer and asked for forgiveness,” Marrow said.
Marrow says he shot German first, Mullins second, and Curtis last.
“I didn’t want to kill that girl, but I know she was part of them, part of the gang, so I had to do what I had to do,” Marrow said.
In one part, Marrow gets emotional, crying and yelling about the stress, snitching, and not getting to see his kids. He says he was scared for his life after a higher ranking East Gangster Blood’s girlfriend said Marrow stole money from her and he robbed someone he shouldn’t have.
He says he got a vibe and knew enough gang lingo to know they meant to kill him, so shooting them was the only way to save himself.
“You shot all three of them because if you didn’t shoot them, they were going to shoot you,” the investigator questioned.
“Yes sir. I don’t have nothing to lie about. Them dudes was really my friends, brother. I don’t have nothing to lie about,” Marrow said.
Prosecutors emphasized several times that Marrow admitted to police at the start of his interview he was on ecstasy when he shot and killed them - seemingly questioning if Marrow’s concern for his life was heightened by the drugs - and questioning why he didn’t ever leave the situation.
The defense argues Marrow was held at gunpoint, which Diggs says Marrow never told him in any interview.
The State has rested its case. Marrow will testify in his own defense Thursday at 10 a.m.
Trial begins against man accused in 2017 triple murder in Savannah
Nine witnesses took the stand Tuesday in a Savannah triple murder trial.
Keith Marrow is accused of shooting and killing three people in April 2017. Courtney German, Shayla Curtis, and William Mullins were found dead inside a home on East 31st St. in Savannah.
Investigators with Savannah Police have said all along
the shooting was gang-related, and several testimonies Tuesday explained how that may have played into their deaths.
The first three witnesses the prosecution called were two police officers and a former gang member who testified about what happened on April 23, 2017.
The State’s first witness was a Savannah Police officer who responded to the home on East 31st St. Prosecutors showed the jury the scene from his body camera video.
The second officer was from the Hardeeville Police Department. His dash cam video showed a chase with Marrow. The officer testified he followed Marrow going about 110 mph until Marrow eventually crashed on an overpass. After getting out of the car and placed into handcuffs, Marrow admits in the video to killing three people in Savannah.
“They were trying to play me, man,” Marrow said. “So I grabbed my gun, and I shot everybody in the house. It was three people - a girl and two dudes - on East 31st St.”
The second half of Tuesday’s trial focused on forensics and East Gangster Blood Gang (EGB) structure from expert witnesses and former gang members.
Local and state law enforcement officers and medical examiners walked through the process of photographing the gruesome scene. A medical examiner with the GBI says Curtis, Mullins, and German died from gunshot wounds to the head, neck, and chest. Each was shot multiple times.
A fingerprint examiner said she matched a print from the scene with Marrow’s fingerprint.
Charlie Dixon, a former Eastside Gangster Bloods member who has turned his life around, spoke about spending the day with Marrow before the killings. Dixon said he and Marrow were with some other Bloods at Heritage Apartments watching them play dice. Marrow briefly left the apartment steps where the group was hanging out and robbed someone, Dixon testified.
The defense argues Marrow killed the victims in self-defense because there was a hit on him for robbing someone without gang permission. Dixon said there was no reason for Marrow to feel threatened by members of his own group, and based on his experience in the gang, they wouldn’t kill someone for that.
Marrow’s attorney actually called his first witness Tuesday, even though the State hasn’t yet rested its case.
Savannah Police Gang Unit Supervisor, Sgt. Jonathan Puhala spoke about East Gangster Blood structure.
Answering hypothetical situation questions from prosecutors, Sgt. Puhala agreed death is not a likely punishment for a minimal crime like robbery.
“Their rules are no different than the rules of Georgia,” Sgt. Puhala said. “Certain ones are more serious than others, so stealing money is relatively low. You’ll probably have to fight. That would be your punishment for your violation.”
Matt Breedon, chief assistant district attorney, then asked, “Why wouldn’t the gang want to carry out a severe sanction over just $30 of, you know, killing someone?”
“Then no one would be in the gang,” Sgt. Puhala said.
Marrow is facing 26 charges.
The trial continues Wednesday at 9 a.m.