A long-awaited Santa Clarita murder trial for three teen suspects accused of fatally shooting a man during an alleged Halloween robbery in 2011 could see jury selection in June, an official said Thursday.
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The “Halloween trio,” Diamonte Jerome McGhee, 20, Branden Trevaughn Higgis, 19, and Eric Michael Edwards, 19, were all under 18 when they were arrested on charges they were involved in the death of Alex Sanchez and wounded Ricardo Sandoval during a robbery gone awry Oct. 21, 2011.
“We expect (jury selection) to start June 23 or June 24,” said Brad Lieberman, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case’s prosecution.
The defendants have a June 16 court date, but that’s a pretrial conference for the attorneys, officials said.
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The three suspects allegedly met with the victims over the purchase of a game system. The exact circumstances of the robbery is unknown, but there was reportedly a dispt
McGhee produced a handgun and shot Sanchez in the chest and when Sandoval attempted to run away, McGhee shot him in the leg, according to a criminal complaint.
All three defendants are facing five felony counts of murder, attempted murder, murder with special circumstances, conspiracy to commit a crime and second degree robbery.
Edwards has been in custody since April 30, 2012, for the crime, Higgs has been in custody since Aug. 27, 2012, and McGhee has been in custody since Jan. 27, 2012.
While the murder charge comes with a possibility of the death penalty, District Attorney spokesperson Jane Robison said that the court will not seek the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18, even though they are being tried as adults.
“With the special circumstances, they could go away for life,” she explained.
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The more serious charges are leveled at McGhee, for using the gun. He is facing 25 years to life without parole. If convicted, all three face incarceration in state prison.
All three are being charged as adults, and being held without bail in Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles.
A memorial fund was established to help the victims.
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Source: Santa Clarita News