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Defendants Connected to Kevin Quick Case Argue Double Jeopardy

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A federal judge says he plans to deny the request of two defendants connected to the murder of Waynesboro Reserve Police Captain Kevin Wayne Quick to have their cases dismissed.

Four suspects - Daniel Mathis, Shantai Shelton, Mersadies Shelton and Kweli Uhuru (AKA Travis Bell) - are charged with the abduction and murder of 45-year-old Quick. The police officer was found shot to death in rural Goochland County in February 2014.

Two other suspects - Halisi Uhuru and Anthony Stokes - are not charged in his death, but are accused of being leaders of an alleged gang that conspired to commit racketeering and other crimes.

Two defendants – Daniel Mathis and Kweli Uhuru - claim the court violated terms of double jeopardy when Judge Glen E. Conrad declared a mistrial back in May.

During Tuesday’s hearing, attorneys for Mathis and Uhuru argued the court and government provoked their clients into motioning for a mistrial when, in fact, they really wanted to move forward with trial.

The four other defendants had requested a mistrial after an FBI agent discovered Kweli Uhuru got a hold of a list of potential jurors. That list contained jurors' names, addresses, occupations, and family information.

The attorneys for Uhuru and Mathis say they were forced to join the request for a mistrial because jurors were notified of the leak, and because the FBI agent's assessment of potential safety risks was over exaggerated. 

"The U.S. Supreme Court has said that jeopardy attaches when the jury is sworn. So what this means is, you can't start a trial and then stop it in the middle because, let's say, the government decides it doesn't like how it’s going and it wants to try again," said legal analyst Lloyd Snook

Snook says the claims of double jeopardy, or protection that you can only be tried once for a particular crime, is valid but likely a tactic to sever their clients from others in order to get a more favorable trial.

"That's part of what happens in a case like this where people say, ‘I don't want to be with all of these people, not just because they're awful and I'm a nice guy, but because there is more evidence admissible against them that wouldn't be admissible if they weren't in the courtroom,’" he said.

Judge Conrad says he ultimately denied the request to dismiss Daniel Mathis and Kweli Uhuru's cases because he feels he gave the attorneys fair options to either to continue with the trial or call for mistrial. The judge says no one provoked them to make the choice they did.

Attorneys for Daniel Mathis and Kweli Uhuru say they plan to now ask to have their clients tried separately from the other four defendants at the new trial in Roanoke next February.

"They are hoping, basically, that an appellate court will decide that the judge was wrong to have denied them the opportunity to go ahead with a separate trial," Snook said.

Judge Conrad says Tuesday's hearing was likely to be the last held in Charlottesville for this case, as it has been officially moved to the Roanoke Division.