VISTA — The Vista courthouse will not be hosting a double jury trial in the criminal trials against two Oceanside Marines who are both charged with murdering a 23-year-old auto shop business owner.
The double jury request, which is a rara avis in the courthouse, was denied by Superior Court Judge Joan P. Weber at a further proceedings hearing on Oct. 18.
Deputy District Attorney Minaz Bhayani had requested the double jury trial for one reason being that it would be easier for the family of slain Charles Evan Williams to attend just one trial since both defendants are charged with carjacking, robbery and the first-degree murder of Williams.
But Bhayani said that during his meeting to discuss the proposition that Judge Weber didn’t agree to the double jury trial because her goal is to give the defendants a fair trial.
If two juries were present to hear all common evidence, “The whole environment would be very ripe for error,” he said.
A potential problem that could arise is that jurors could hear things that they shouldn’t hear when people talk in the back (of the courtroom), he said.
“It could create a problem. Logistically, it’s a nightmare,” he said.
Xavier Akeem Adams, 20, and Raphael Roshod Ramey, 21, are both charged with murder for allegedly beating and fatally stabbing Williams at Classic and Custom Luxury Street Concepts in Oceanside that he had established. The crime happened because of a dispute about a car, according to court records.
The defendants are Marines who were based out of Camp Pendleton, and both pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment hearing last August.
Ramey faces additional charges of torture, and his trial will be the first trial to take place, which is scheduled for Jan. 25 at the San Diego Superior Court in Vista, according to Bhayani.
Both men remain in custody with a bail amount of $10 million.