Suspects To Be Tried Together

Monday, November 18, 2097

The six defendants in the Lillelid murder case will be tried together.

That was the ruling of Judge James Beckner, who Tuesday morning denied motions for separate trials by defense attorneys for the suspects.

During the third in a series of motions hearings, Judge Beckner said he based his ruling on several reasons, including:

*the mechanics, or time involved in trying separate trials

*what he called the impossible burden on some of the witnesses who would be forced to travel long distances for years during the trials

*the cost, which Beckner says could bankrupt the states appropriation for such matters, as well as the cost on Greene County.

Beckner also said trying the cases separately would result in potential jurors for future trials already knowing the result of earlier trials which would prevent an impartial jury from being seated.

Later in the day, the Judge heard testimony from several immigrations and detention officers in the Douglas, Arizona area where the suspects were apprehended two days after the murder of three members of the Lillelid family near Baileyton.

Judge Beckner is expected to rule at next Tuesdays motions hearing whether to allow incriminating statements made by some of the suspects to those officers to be used as evidence in the trial, which is scheduled to begin in February of next year in a Greene County Courtroom.