The case of three teens charged with the Halloween 2011 murder of a Good Samaritan in Canyon Country has hit another delay, according to Deputy District Attorney Brad Lieberman.
Diamonte Jerome McGhee, Branden Trevaughn Higgs and Eric Michael Edwards are adults now. They all turned 18 while in custody for the crime, and they’re being tried as adults for the murder of one man and the attempted murder of another.
Their trial is now expected to start in mid-September.
Alex Sanchez was killed and Ricardo Sandoval injured on Halloween in 2011, when the three suspects attempted to rob Sandoval and Sanchez, acting as a Good Samaritan, stepped in.
The trial for the three was initially scheduled to start in mid-August, Lieberman said.
10/31/2011: One of the suspects is taken into custody following a fatal shooting in a Canyon Country parking lot. (News Photos LA)
However, the case has been continued several times.
“It just was put over again for further preparation on the case.In this particular case, there’s a new lawyer for one of the defendants,” Lieberman said. “(Higgs’) lawyer got transferred.”
There’s another court date for pretrial motions scheduled for July 15, which is called a “first of 60,” according to Lieberman.
That means that court officials expect a court date to be set within 60 days of that date.
“The trial should start roughly in mid-September as currently scheduled,” he said.
The lawyer for Higgs was reassigned recently, Leiberman said, which means that a new public defender has to learn the facts and disposition of the case.
The prosecutor declined to discuss the details of the re-assignment.
Crime scene | Photo: Mark Archuleta
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.
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.
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 defendants are being held without bail, according to Sheriff’s Department records.