Auburn shooting suspect case moves to grand jury - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Auburn shooting suspect case moves to grand jury

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We're learning more about what happened the night three people were killed at University Heights apartments in Auburn. A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday to determine whether the case should go to a grand jury.

Desmonte Leonard arrived at the Lee County Courthouse to hear the next chapter in his case. He's charged with three counts of capital murder and two counts of assault.

Two key testimonies told the story of what happened the night of June 9th leading up to the deaths of former football players Ed Christian, and LaDarious Phillips, and DeMario Pitts.

Detective Jude Hackett from the Auburn Police Department was called to the scene. He said that during the pool party at the club house, several people got into an argument near the manager's door all captured by security cameras.

The prosecution asked to show the footage. In it, you can clearly see five of the victims. Later, the courtroom watched as Eric Mack and John Robertson were shot and injured.

Investigators have not yet determined if Desmonte Leonard is in the footage. But detective Hackett stated that a "young man consistent with Desmonte Leonard's description is in the video."

"There were people congregating back and forth, a lot of the time you're just seeing their backs so we'll have to analyze that and go over it very carefully," Susan James, defense attorney said.

8 shell casings were found at the scene. A gun was found near College Street and Interstate 85.

"The only evidence they indicated they have right now linking Mr. Leonard to being the shooter is the statement from Mr. Vines - who they indicated was the initial aggressor," James said. 

Next, attorneys brought the woman who invited Leonard to the party to the stand. She put to rest the accusations Leonard was not invited. 

"By the initial statement she gave - as the news reports came out it was like, this was some uninvited guy that comes in and opens fire over a girl," James said.

After hearing all of this, Judge Russell Bush sent the case to a grand jury. The defense tells us, it wants the venue changed from Lee County- to give Leonard a fair trial. 

A date has not yet been set for the next phase.  Once the case proceeds to the grand jury, they will decide whether to indict - and on what charges to indict.