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Posted: September 24, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Defendants in Nichols murder case go to court

Security amped up as motions heard Thursday

Brittany Thomas/

Security was enhanced at the Newton County Judicial Center Thursday because of motion hearings for several men accused on multiple charges in the murder of Andrew Nichols late last year.

Newton County Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn heard from attorneys for Sam Dumas Dawkins, Robert Vincent Lambert, Michael Scott West and Chad Ashley Allen on a variety of issues, including motions to suppress evidence and statements allegedly made by the defendants to law enforcement officials during the course of the investigation into the murder of Nichols, who was 38.

According to investigators, Nichols was taken from the area of Ivy Street in Porterdale and transported to Dawkins’ home on Deer Trail in Oxford. He was taken to a shed at the back of the property, beaten and shot to death, then transported to Walton County where the body was found Dec. 6, 2009.

DNA was taken from the four suspects to compare with blood evidence found inside the shed, but scientists with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab found no matches, according to Newton County Sheriff’s Investigator Charlie Cook. Investigators are seeking other scientists to retest the evidence. Each defense attorney argued against their client’s DNA being used if, in fact, the blood evidence could be used.

Attorneys also sought to suppress statements for some of the defendants as well as evidence found inside the residence where Dawkins, along with Tonya Wilson Owenby, was residing.

Owenby was also present with her attorney and is charged with various drug offenses related to the case, as is Mindy Monique James.

Ozburn is expected to rule on the motions at a later date.

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