Man charged with murder in double homicide case could go to trial Dec. 9

Attorneys told the court they are ready to go to trial on the murder case Dec. 9.
Posted on Nov. 21, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 21, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

GOSHEN — One of two men charged with murder for their connection with a Sept. 5 double homicide in Elkhart said he is ready to go to trial in December.

Richard Gross, 22, of Elkhart, appeared in Elkhart’s Circuit Court Thursday morning, Nov. 21, for a trail status hearing.

Matthew Johnson, Gross’ attorney, told the court he and his client would be ready to have the trial Dec. 9. Johnson said he plans to use a general denial defense.

Deputy prosecutor David Francisco said the state would also be prepared for the trial in December.

Gross’ trial is set to be the highest in priority on the court’s calendar, but the trial could be vacated if the court is presented with a plea agreement before the day of the trial.

Gross was arrested Sept. 13, a week after the double shooting at Saleh’s Market, 401 Middlebury St., in which Jagtar Bhatti, 55, and Pawan Singh, 20, died.

During his initial hearing Sept. 17, Gross requested a speedy trial. When a speedy trial is requested, the court must schedule a trial within 70 days from the date charges are filed.

Circuit Court judge Terry Shewmaker scheduled Gross’ trial for Nov. 4. But Gross’ attorneys asked the court to reschedule the trial so they could complete their case.

Kevin Moore, Gross’ co-defendant, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 23 for a status conference. His trial has been scheduled for Feb. 3.

Officers continue to investigate the double homicide. Following the arrests of Moore and Gross, police filed probable cause affidavits for their arrest. The files, however, remain sealed because of the ongoing investigation, officials said.

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