Apr 4, 6:05 PM EDT

Separate trials granted for men in 3 Pa. slayings


READING, Pa. (AP) -- A judge has agreed to hold two separate trials for a pair of eastern Pennsylvania brothers accused of killing two men in Reading and torturing and killing a woman whose burning body was found in Lehigh County.

Forty-year-old Michael Alan Wilkins and 33-year-old Maurice Adrian Wilkins of Ruscombmanor Township have pleaded not guilty to multiple first-degree murder and related counts.

The Reading Eagle (http://bit.ly/1mJWJyX ) said a judge agreed to their request Friday for separate trials. Their lawyers said statements from one brother may taint the jury against the other.

The brothers are charged in the December 2012 drug-related slayings of 22-year-olds Rafael Alequin and Dario McLemore, and 26-year-old Jennifer Velez-Negron, whose charred body was found bound and gagged on a Salisbury Township road.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

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Information from: Reading Eagle, http://www.readingeagle.com/

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