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Opening statements begin in murder trial

LAWRENCEVILLE - Prosecutors said Troy Lee Davis Jr.'s story of what he did the day his aunt and uncle were fatally stabbed just doesn't add up.

But Davis' defense attorneys said there's no evidence to support the claim that the 43-year-old killed the elderly siblings, who were knifed to death on Feb. 28, 2005, in the Buford home they shared.

Opening statements were delivered Tuesday in the murder trial. Davis has been charged with two counts each of murder and felony murder.

Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Rich Vandever said discrepancies in Davis' story and strange evidence at the crime scene suggest Davis killed 76-year-old Mary Lavader Chambers and 79-year-old William Horace Marsingill hours before he called 911.

No money or belongings were taken, and the house, although cluttered, didn't appear to be ransacked. Davis said he left the house before dawn that morning and walked to his mother's house, but his account of when he returned home contains discrepancies, Vandever said.

The crime scene also appeared to have been cleaned, as there was an odor of bleach in the house that was stronger in the rooms where the bodies were found, he said.

Stabbed about 27 times, Chambers' shirt was soaked with blood, but there wasn't much blood around her body, Vandever said. Marsingill, stabbed about 25 times, was lying on some slats missing from a magazine rack that was covered in blood and propped against a wall away from his body.

Vandever also pointed out a comment Davis made during an interview when he was asked why he didn't immediately try to help his aunt when he found her body.

"'She was always on me about cleaning the yard' - that's his response," Vandever said.

Defense attorney Tracy Drake said there is "absolutely no motive in this case."

"The only one offered by the state makes no sense," she said.

Drake described Davis as a "somewhat awkward" man who "moves at a slower pace" and liked to collect and hoard items in his bedroom. Davis, who was unemployed, had lived with his widowed aunt for about eight years because she was afraid to live alone. For the latter three years, Marsingill also lived in the house.

Chambers would ask Davis to clean up his room and clean up the yard, but she and her nephew didn't fight, Drake said. In fact, Davis had a close bond with his aunt and uncle, she said.

Drake asked the jury to focus on the lack of evidence in the case - the murder weapons were never found, there was no DNA evidence from Davis on either body, and the walls were free of both blood spatter and cleaning agents.

The trial continues today in Judge Timothy Hamil's courtroom.