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Published December 03, 2011, 09:35 AM

Trial date set in Cromwell double-murder case

(AP) -- A trial date was set Friday for the man accused of murdering a Cromwell couple by shooting each of the victims in the back of the head last winter at their home.

(AP) -- A trial date was set Friday for the man accused of murdering a Cromwell couple by shooting each of the victims in the back of the head last winter at their home.

Barring a pretrial settlement, Joshua David Martineau, 29, will face trial April 2 in Carlton County District Court. Martineau, whose previous name was David Joshua Annette, is charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree murder while committing or attempting to commit first-degree burglary and/or aggravated robbery in the Jan. 8 incident.

Rachel Charlotte Defoe, 25, is charged with aiding and abetting Martineau’s

alleged crimes. Both defendants are from Cloquet.

The defendants, who were romantically involved, are accused of taking part in the slayings of Kim Schmitz and her boyfriend, Thomas Holm, both 53.

Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler told Judge Robert Macaulay on Friday that he wants to try

Martineau before Defoe. The judge gave Pertler and Martineau’s attorney, Keith Shaw of Duluth, a choice of three dates for the trial to start. The attorneys chose April 2, although Pertler said he and Shaw continue to explore the possibility of settling the case short of trial.

Shaw, who works in private practice and as a public defender, told the court that the public defender’s office intends to conduct a survey of potential jurors in Carlton County to determine how much they have heard about the case through media accounts and whether that could affect their ability to be fair and impartial jurors. Depending on the survey results, Shaw then would make a decision whether to file a motion to move the trial to another part of the state.

Defoe’s attorney, Joanna Wiegert of Cloquet, already has filed a motion to move the trial to another county. A hearing on that request has not yet been scheduled.

Pertler said the motive of the crimes was burglary and robbery, but authorities don’t know what led to the brutal murders. The

prosecutor said there is no evidence of any past disputes between the

defendants and victims. He said only Martineau knows what led him to do what he is accused of doing.

The defendants face a mandatory life prison sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.

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