A new trial date has been set for three men accused of taking part in the 2017 robbery of La Placita market that left one person dead.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers ordered Jonny Alexander Reyes-Martinez, Jorge Santos Caballero-Melgar and Jose Adan Mejia Varela to stand trial April 27 for various offenses.
The store on Morgantown Road was robbed March 17, 2017. Jose Cruz, 31, of Bowling Green, was shot and killed while attempting to intervene, according to police.
Reyes-Martinez, who is accused of firing the fatal shot, is charged with murder through use of a firearm during a crime of violence, interference with commerce by robbery, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, conspiracy to carry or possess a firearm during a crime of violence and illegal possession of a firearm.
Reyes-Martinez and Varela face the same charges, while Caballero-Melgar is charged with four of the same five counts against Reyes-Martinez and Varela as well as a count of illegal reentry after deportation.
The three co-defendants and their attorneys took part in a hearing Tuesday over telephone in which Stivers set the new trial date.
A number of previous trial dates have been set in the case, only for them to be postponed.
Most recently, a Feb. 16 trial date for the co-defendants was postponed after Stivers issued an order in November postponing all jury trials and grand jury proceedings through Feb. 26 due to an escalating number of COVID-19 cases in the Western District of Kentucky.
The trial is anticipated to last two weeks, and Stivers ordered all co-defendants and their attorneys to return March 23 for an in-person pretrial conference.
Two other people accused in the La Placita incident, Lilian Duron and Estrellita Soto, have each pleaded guilty to a count of interference with commerce by robbery.
The women were not at the store when the robbery occurred, but admitted to participating in the planning of the robbery by visiting the store before the robbery and wiring money transfers. Duron has been sentenced to serve four years in prison. Soto is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.
The group is accused of being part of a larger group of 13 people based in Nashville who have been charged with conspiracy and other counts after law enforcement investigated robberies of a number of primarily Hispanic-owned businesses in multiple states that took place during 2016-17.
Many of the remaining defendants, who are not charged in the incident at La Placita, have entered guilty pleas.