Two men charged in the 2014 shooting death of a former Marine outside Austin City Saloon in Lexington will not be tried simultaneously on other robberies that happened after that offense, a judge ruled Monday.
Quincinio D. Canada and Dawan Q. Mulazim are charged with murder, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault in the slaying of Jonathan Price, 26, and the assault on his wife, Megan, on June 21, 2014.
The two are also charged with a series of robberies that happened on July 8, 11, 17 and 25. It is those robberies that Fayette Circuit Court Judge Pamela Goodwine said should be “severed,” or tried separately, from the June 21 fatal shooting.
However, Goodwine said evidence about a June 15, 2014, robbery at Quality Inn on Newtown Court will be included in the trial on murder charges. Evidence indicates that a gun stolen in that robbery had fired shell casings found six days later at the scene where Price and his wife were shot.
The couple were approached by two men on June 21, 2014, in the parking lot of the Lexington bar, and were robbed and shot. Jonathan Price died at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. Megan Price was shot in the leg.
The prosecution will seek the death penalty if Canada and Mulazim are convicted.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has previously ruled that in order to justify joining separate offenses in a single trial, there must be “a sufficient nexus between or among them.”
The Kentucky Supreme Court said the required nexus must arise “from a logical” relationship between the crimes, or some indication that they arose one from the other or otherwise in the course of a single act or transaction, or that they both arose as parts of a common scheme or plan.
Kim Green, attorney for Mulazim, argued that there was “no nexus” between the robberies and the fatal shooting “to properly join them together.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Baird argued that the victims in all the cases were outside and the suspects had similar descriptions.
Goodwine said she was concerned about trying the robbery counts in the “already complicated process” of a potential death-penalty case. For that reason, she said the July 2014 robberies should be tried separately.
As for the gun stolen from Quality Inn and allegedly used in the Price shootings, “I think that’s a pretty good nexus,” Goodwine said, meaning that evidence could come in at the murder trial.
A trial date might be scheduled at a status hearing scheduled for May 27.