Police detective testifies about evidence collected following fatal Auburn shooting

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OPELIKA, Alabama — Testimony in the trial of a man accused in a fatal triple shooting continued Wednesday with a detective discussing evidence that was collected from the scene.

Auburn police detective Jude Hackett told the court that authorities gathered several shell casings, a blood sample and broken beer bottles from the scene of the shooting along with a handgun found near the apartment complex where the shooting happened, according to the Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/1vvaFki).

Two Auburn football players and another man were killed in the June 2012 incident. Three other people were wounded.

Desmonte Leonard, 24, of Montgomery is charged with capital murder and has said he fired in self-defense. Prosecutors have said Leonard and others fled the scene of the shooting and discarded the gun.

Chief of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Firearms and Toolmark Section Adam Grooms said he was given bullet casings from the crime scene and the gun that was recovered, but testing couldn't confirm whether the weapon and projectiles matched.

Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences fingerprint analyst Shannon Fitzgerald also said no fingerprints could be lifted from the gun.

Former Auburn lineman Eric Mack testified on Tuesday that teammate DeAngelo Benton began arguing with Leonard inside an apartment complex clubhouse. Mack said the argument escalated and he took Benton outside and was followed by former teammates Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips.

One of Leonard's friends, Christopher Traywick, and another partygoer, Turquorius Vines, said Pitts hit Traywick in the face with a bottle moments before the shooting. Traywick said Benton threatened to kill Leonard as they argued over a woman.

Pitts was shot and killed, along with Christian, a one-time Auburn lineman, and Phillips, who had played running back before leaving the team.

Dr. Stephen Boudreau, a state medical examiner, testified that at least some of the slugs traveled upward through the victims' bodies, possibly meshing with defense claims that Leonard was on the ground being beaten when he pulled out a gun and opened fire. But Boudreau said he couldn't determine where the victims or gunman might have been.

During a recess, Leonard's attorney Jeffery Duffey filed a motion to dismiss charges against his client and argued that prosecutors hadn't investigated whether the situation qualified as self-defense.

District Attorney Robbie Treese said Duffey's argument was unjustified and Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker denied Duffey's motion.

The trial is expected to resume Thursday morning.

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