The four men accused of killing two UCA students
on campus last October were in court Monday. The Faulkner County prosecutor wants all four to stand trial together but defense attorneys for the men say they cannot get a fair trial if that happens.
The four defendants
in this case have been in and out of the Faulkner County courthouse nearly half a dozen times since the shooting on the UCA campus back in October of 2008, but there is still a lot to get worked out before they actually head to trial.
Kelsey Perry, Mario Toney, Kawin Brockman and Brandon Wade all showed up for a pretrial hearing together and that's how the Faulkner County prosecutor wants them to stand trial. The men face capital murder charges for the shooting that claimed the lives of Ryan Henderson and Chavares Block.
"The allegations are that this happened all at the same time, the same four people were in the same car when the shooting happened and they all were doing whatever they were doing together. It's our decision that it's better for the case," prosecutor Marcus Vaden said.
Not so, says Frank Shaw who represents Brandon Wade. He doesn't believe his client can get a fair trial with the other three defendants. "My client, Brandon Wade was alleged to have been in the vehicle but was not alleged to have fired shots. It is conceivable that not everyone in the vehicle knew what was going on. I'm going to say my client is one of those people," Shaw said.
The other attorneys also prefer separate trials. The judge plans to make a decision at yet another pretrial hearing. Vaden says this is not uncommon in capital murder cases, especially when they still have an option to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors usually find themselves waiting for investigative reports and evidence testing, the defense stays busy too. "What you have is they're filing motions to retry to keep certain evidence out, the statements some of the defendants might have made, they're going to raise issues of probably mental incompetence of their clients." All of this takes time.
The shooting happened on October 26th
, 2008. Police arrested two of the suspects the night of the shooting.