Jurors saw bloody photos of victims dumped in the road and heard testimony about stolen evidence during day three of the Taybronne White murder trial.
Investigators say, in May 2011, White shot and killed Brian Lee Daniels, Dustin Knighton and Lisa Hwang. Their bodies were found in the middle of Octonia Road in Stanardsville. Police say he killed them after a home invasion and robbery gone wrong on Ford Avenue, just over a mile away.
Thursday was a dramatic day in Greene County Circuit Court. The jury saw photo after photo of the three dead victims splayed across Octonia Road with two guns and a trail of blood.
Officers who took the stand testified Knighton lay bloody, face-down with a .22-millimeter rifle next to him, Daniels was found on the opposite side of the road with a bullet wound to his back, and Hwang was found with road rash from being dumped by a moving car.
A bystander in the courtroom lives near the murder scene and said he was mortified at the graphic images of the scene.
Jeff Green of Stanardsville said, "What was distrubing was such a beautiful day, such a beautiful road - to see the carnage of the people laying in the street shot to pieces was horrific."
After Thursday morning's testimony, James Shifflett, the animal control officer and evidence technician pleaded guilty to stealing $19,000 from the evidence room at the Greene County Sheriff's Office, took the stand. He told the jury he knew "a good chain of evidence could make or break the case," but that he needed the money. He tore through several bags of evidence, which included evidence from this case, and said he went back multiple times.
Shifflett said he stole the cash from White's case knowing it is a capital murder case and that no one would ever get that evidence back.
Jurors visibly reacted after hearing a fiancée of one and wife of another victim openly sob in court while they identified the bodies and spoke of their loss.
White took notes during the trial and sat upright, appearing alert and fully engaged in the proceedings.
The prosecution has yet to present testimony connecting White to the killings but is expected to continue its side of the case when trial picks up Friday.