ALBANY, Ga. -- Three men went on trial Tuesday for the gunshot murder of Jack Camp, a man with strong family, professional and community ties in Albany.
Darrell Anderson, 33, Christopher Ingram, 22, and Dontavious Wilson, 23, face multiple charges of conspiracy to murder, malice murder and felony murder among other charges.
Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense gave their opening statements before Superior Court Judge Loring A. Gray and a jury of six women and eight men, two of whom are alternates.
Calling the defendants "murderers and drug dealers," Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards began his opening statements.
Edwards said the defendants were at the Regency Apartments in east Albany at almost 1 a.m. March 14, 2007 to sell drugs. When Camp, who acted as security guard for the apartment complex where he lived, saw them he dialed 911 for police to respond.
Ingram carried a .38-caliber gun to protect the drug-dealing business, Edwards stated. Wilson took the gun from Ingram and shot Camp in the face.
"He was killed because he was about to bring the law down on them," Edwards said. "Shots were fired at close range, and his body was left on the side of the road."
The defendants had an escape plan and an alibi ready, Edwards said. The alibi plan, according to Edwards: "You don't see nothing. You don't know nothing."
That plan didn't work, Edwards said, because the defendants had big mouths. They told friends and family.
"Chris Ingram told his girlfriend, Tabitha Woodall," Edwards said. "She told the police."
The same was true for each of the defendants, Edwards said. They talked to a variety of people, who in turn talked to investigators.
The case against the defendants seemed to, from Edwards' statement, rest on witness testimony. Edwards said he had more than five witnesses, including a drug customer of the defendants and a man who was at the scene with the defendants but in a different car than them.
The witnesses may change their stories on the stand, but Edwards has their statements to investigators on tape.
"Anderson started the murder. He said Camp was calling the cops," Edwards said. "Ingram had the gun to protect the business. Dontavious Wilson pulled the trigger."
The defendants' three attorneys, Samuel Merritt representing Anderson, John Beall, attorney for Wilson and Willie C. Weaver for Ingram, each gave a similar statement about what they thought the evidence would show.
Calling the case against his client a "ball of confusion led by a rush to judgment," Weaver said, "The evidence will show my client had nothing to do with it."
Because of Camp's ties to the law enforcement community, so many inexperienced officers responded to the 911 call that "they trampled all through the crime scene." He didn't see how anything could be proved without physical evidence.
"There is no gun, no blood and no fingerprints," Weaver said. "There were a lot of suspects interviewed. They had to arrest somebody."
All three attorneys touched on the lack of evidence leading to a guilty verdict "beyond a reasonable doubt" and the unreliability of witnesses.
The case had been delayed for a variety of reasons at different times in the past three and a half years. At one time, the presiding judge suffered an injury, the defendants changed attorneys at various times and the usual pretrail legal maneuvering through motions and hearings all contributed to delays.