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Arguments begin in murder trial

ALBANY, Ga. -- Three defendants face life in prison if found guilty in a murder trial that had opening statements from attorneys Thursday.

Tavaress Sinqunce Jackson, 22; Kendrick Lewis Sanders, and Lekisha Rhonecia White, both 19, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and murder in connection with the shooting death of Dominic Lamar King, 24, in January. They also have lesser charges against them such as criminal damage to property.

A fourth man who put two 9 mm bullets into King's back confessed Monday to the slaying. He was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole after 30 years.

"We have asked for a sentencing of life in prison without parole in this case," Matthew Breedon, assistant district attorney, said.

The prosecution and the defense attorneys agree that none of the remaining defendants, who have separate attorneys but who are being tried together in the case, shot King. They come under conspiracy to commit murder laws.

When Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette instructed the jury and alternates, he said, "Parties to a conspiracy are held to be participants in all the acts of their co-conspirators."

That includes Bell who confessed to shooting King, Breedon said. It all started with a love triangle, he added.

White was involved with Debra Mulkey and so was King, Breedon said.

In the midst of continued arguing with King about Mulkey, she conspired with the men to kill King, Breedon said.

On Jan. 14, King arrived at White's residence at 1910 Meadow Drive for what would be his last argument. He was carrying a gun.

White called the other defendants twice to convince them to come over to her home to carry out the murder, Breedon said. Further showing intent to murder, White had the foresight to call her neighbor and tell her to "lie down because the bullets are going to start firing" when the men arrive, Breedon said.

When the men arrived, Bell fatally shot King in front of Mulkey and about four other witnesses, Breedon added. Breedon said he would present witnesses and other evidence, such as recovered guns and bullets, to prove his case.

"I am going to ask you to do what is right, and return a verdict that speaks the truth," Breedon said. "The truth in this case is clear. There is no doubt that they (the defendants) are all completely guilty."

In an opposing opening statement, James Finkelstein, Jackson's attorney, painted another intention to the confrontation that cost king his life.

White called the men over for protection, Finkelstein said. They were at the Meadow Drive residence to protect White and Mulkey, not to murder King, he added.

When King arrived, he was "armed and looking for trouble," Finkelstein said. When the men arrived King was holding Mulkey and dragging her from a hallway into the living room. When Bell and the other defendants saw King manhandling Mulkey, Bell didn't think, he shot King, Finkelstein said

While both attorneys gave their opening statements, King's mother, Shirley King, rested her head against the courtroom pew in front of her several times and softly cried.

The trial's opening continued Thursday after lunch with Sandra Satchell representing Sanders and Ingrid Driskell as White's attorney. There is a possibility that the trial could last two weeks, several attorneys said.