DES MOINES, Iowa — A preliminary trial Friday shed some light on what happened the day of a triple murder in Des Moines.
Brothers Devonte Swanks, 19, and Malachi Swanks, 16, and their friend Thayne Wright, 15, were found murdered in the brothers’ home on Jan. 30.
Nineteen-year-old Emmanuel Totaye is facing three counts of first-degree murder related to the triple homicide.
Detective Brad Youngblut detailed the hours leading up to the shootings.
Youngblut says Totaye and two others were with the three victims during the day of the murders. They traveled to a GameStop on the south side where victim Devonte Swanks and Leontrel Jones attempted to sell a game console twice before heading back to the Swanks’ home.
The Swanks’ father told detectives he saw them arriving at the house as he was leaving, and a neighbor told police they heard a large commotion followed by loud thuds during the time of the murder. Detectives also discovered texts between Wright and his girlfriend saying his final goodbyes.
“Specifically, messages from Thayne Wright concerned that he might be shot on the night of this incident and he was essentially saying his goodbyes to his girlfriend because he feared something bad was going to happen to him. Just moments before, his phone suddenly stopped working and is not located,” said Youngblut.
Totaye will be arraigned March 20. Daishawn Gills has also been charged in the case. He will be arraigned March 18.
Police are still searching for 16-year-old Leontrel Jones, who is considered a material witness in the investigation.