A defendant in a multi-defendant first-degree murder trial will be tried separately.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Lee ruled Wednesday that Michael James Celaya could be tried separately from three other defendants accused of killing Terrence Caldwell in April 2012.
The three other defendants, Marcos Antonio Celaya, Caleb Michael Schaff and Luis Francisco Howard will be tried together.
Attorneys for those defendants argued they plan to implicate Michael James Celaya as the ringleader of the group at trial.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Lewis Brandes argued it shouldn’t matter what the defense attorneys say if their clients don’t plan to testify during the trial. Plus, Brandes argued, any witnesses who testify would be subject to cross examination by all the attorneys.
The defendants were accused of robbing Caldwell at knifepoint and later killed him.
A fifth defendant, Jessica Michelle Miranda, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case and agreed to testify against the others.
Michael James Celaya’s trial was scheduled for Jan. 22, 2014 and the others face trial January 7.