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Local News

Trial Date for 2 Athletes Charged With Murder May Land in Early 2018

Lavell C. White
Lavell C. White

A trial date for two former Allan Hancock College basketball players charged with murder remains up in the air amid a clogged Santa Barbara County Superior Court calendar.

However, both defendants, Lavell C. White and Ali Mohammed, agreed Monday to waive time for a trial through March, setting the stage for the proceedings to potentially occur early next year.

The pair are charged with murder stemming from the December 2014 shooting that killed Terence Richardson, 23, in a vehicle near Bradley Road and Jones Street.

The men also face a special-circumstance allegations that the slaying occurred during the commission of a robbery, and several charges for robbery and residential burglaries.

Rather than set a new date, Judge John McGregor, filling for a colleague Monday, told the attorneys to return Oct. 16 for another readiness-and-settlement conference.

Judge James Voysey had three homicide trials potentially set to start this fall, with the retrial of two Lompoc defendants first in line.

That case, involving Edward Carter and Dequan Matthews, will return to court Oct. 2 for trial confirmation, with the trial set for Oct. 11.

Defense attorney Michael Scott said he expected the case involving the former Hancock players will follow the Lompoc trial.

Ali Mohammed
Ali Mohammed

McGregor asked about the homicide case in his courtroom set for early next year and also involving the same defense attorneys, Scott and defense attorney Lori Pedego.

In addition to the former Hancock players, Scott and Pedego are defending two men charged with the brutal attack that caused the death of Marilyn Pharis.

“There’s a domino effect, judge, and I suspect that may slip out,” Scott said.

“I realize there’s a domino effect, but the dominos can’t fall until one of the dominos goes in motion,” McGregor said.

The trial for the former basketball players had been set for mid-August until the defense requested a delay to review new ballistics reports. 

The judge declined to set a new trial date saying he wanted to ensure one of the trials occurs in October, ordering those involved in the Hancock case to return Oct. 16. 

The third trial, three defendants charged with the death of Javier Limon in 2014, was set for an Oct. 17 start, with trial confirmation on Oct. 2 in Voysey’s courtroom.

However, those dates have been scrapped, with the case also set to return Oct. 16. 

Two other judges handling criminal trials at the Santa Maria Court Complex also have trials set to begin in October, one involving a different Lompoc homicide, and yet another trial stemming from sexual-assault charges in a third courtoom.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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