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Aug 12, 1:25 PM EDT

Joint trial slated for 3 teens in police officer's death


SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) -- A judge has scheduled a joint trial at the end of October for three teenagers accused of having caused the death of a Pennsylvania police officer during a chase two years ago.

Lackawanna County Judge Margaret Bisignani Moyle scheduled the proceedings to begin Oct. 30 while denying a series of pretrial motions by Tanner Curtis, Isiah Edwards and Nasiir Jones, The (Scranton) Times-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2uQdH87 ) reported.

The judge left undecided last week the issue of whether jurors will be selected from the county or from another county or whether the proceedings should be moved elsewhere. Defense attorneys have cited extensive publicity about the case and questioned whether their clients can receive a fair trial in the county.

Moyle rejected requests for separate trials and suppression of statements to investigators as well as a motion from defendants Edwards and Jones to disqualify the prosecutor's office from handling the case. Edwards' public defender has argued that social media posts by a former prosecutor inflamed public sentiment and the case should be handled by the state attorney general's office.

Authorities said the three, all 17 at the time, fled from Scranton police after a July 2015 armed robbery, and patrolman John Wilding died after falling from a 15-foot retaining wall during the chase. The defendants are charged with second-degree murder and murder of a law enforcement officer.

President Judge Michael J. Barrasse last month appointed a senior judge to serve as a third-party mediator to explore the potential for negotiated pleas with any or all of the defendants.

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Information from: The Times-Tribune, http://thetimes-tribune.com/

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