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DA seeks double jury for case of Marines charged with murder

VISTA — A district attorney asked the court on Oct. 4 to pre-assign a single trial judge, with the hopes of being granted a double jury, for the murder case against two Marines accused of the slaying of an Oceanside auto shop owner in August 2009.
“We were asking the court to pre-assign to one judge,” Deputy District Attorney Minaz Bhayani said.
But in order for the double jury to be executed, Bhayani said it needs to be ruled by a trial judge, and needs to be pre-assigned.
Superior Court Judge Joan P. Weber was assigned as the judge, and on Oct. 18 Bhayani, the two defense attorneys representing the defendants, and Judge Weber will have their first meeting to deal with certain motions.
“Being that a dual jury request is a trial — she will decide if that is something she will grant or not,” Bhayani said.
He said that judges are normally reluctant to grant a double jury, but that it has happened in the past.
“Some judges allow it, some don’t,” he said.
He said if the double jury is granted that both juries will hear all common evidence, and that during times of the noncommon evidence being presented that one jury would be excused.
One aspect not common to both defendants are the statements they made, Bhayani said.
Former Pfc. Xavier Adams, 19 at the time of the homicide, and Lance Cpl. Raphael Ramey, then 20, are both charged with carjacking, robbery and the first-degree murder of Charles Evan Williams, along with the special allegation they both used a knife and were lying in wait, according to previous reports from The Coast News.
A benefit to the double jury is that there would only be one trial.
Bhayani said that the victim’s family lives in Colorado, and that it would be more economical for them to come to only one trial instead of two.
But certain things must be considered first, such as making sure the courtroom could accommodate two juries.
Bhayani said in earlier reports from The Coast News that the pair of Marines, who were both stationed at Camp Pendleton, made an appointment with the victim on a Sunday — a slow day when there is virtually no one around.
He said they stabbed Williams more than 14 times in the neck.
Williams, 23, owned an automotive restoration shop, and Ramey was mad about the time period it was taking for his car to be restored, according to reports.
Ramey faces additional charges of torture, reports said.
Last January Bhayani announced that the death penalty would not be sought.
Their felony jury trial is set to begin on Jan. 25.