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Trial Date Set for 3 Charged with Death of Man Found Near Guadalupe

The Santa Maria Superior Court trial for three defendants facing homicide charges in connection with the death of a man whose body was found west of Guadalupe in 2014 could start in early August.

Joseph Morales, Bryan Rios and Arturo Granados were charged with murder after the remains of Javier Alcantar Limon, 37, were found off the side of West Main Street, near the entrance to the Guadalupe Dunes, on the morning of Aug. 19, 2014. 

Law enforcement officers allege that Limon's death was a gang-related killing orchestrated by then-prison-inmate Morales. 

The trial for the three defendants has been awaiting completion of two other trials involving attorneys Michael Scott, who represents Morales, and Lori Pedego, who represents Granados.

A third defense attorney, Billy Redell, represents Rios in the case being prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Gresser.

Scott and Pedego just wrapped up one homicide trial involving a pair of former Allan Hancock College basketball players.

The defense attorneys have started picking jurors in another courtroom for a different homicide trial — two men charged in connection with the death of Air Force veteran Marilyn Pharis in summer 2015.

On Monday, Judge James Voysey set Aug. 7 for the start of the jury trial for the three men, with motions and a trial confirmation conference planned for July 27.

The trial is expected to last approximately eight weeks. 

The case also will return to court July 9 for a readiness-and-settlement conference. 

The trio of defendants were among five initially charged in connection with the homicide.

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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