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Trial for three murder suspects still a ways off

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POSTED September 30, 2013 10:25 p.m.

If the three men being charged with the murder of a 51-year-old Manteca man earlier this year do end up going to trial, they might not see the inside of a courtroom until next spring.

According to Deputy District Attorney Janet Smith, Michael Roessler, Christopher Oliver and Justin Wilson – all three of which are being charged with the premeditated murder of Michael Lawrence – are set to appear in court later this month to hear the evidence against them.

And in the event that the three men all waive their constitutional right to a speedy trial – which would require the prosecution to put a case together within 60 days – it could take months before they appeared back in court before a judge and jury to determine their fate.

Investigators believe that on the evening of June 22, Roessler, Oliver and Wilson were all present outside of Lawrence’s rented Williamson Road home when a disagreement ended in gunfire – leaving the man with grave wounds to die in front of his 8-year-old daughter.

Roessler was arrested by police after he was discharged from a local hospital – he wrecked on a motorcycle on McKinley Avenue while allegedly fleeing the scene. Oliver sustained a pair of gunshot wounds – one to the stomach and one to the hand – and was also arrested when he was released from the hospital.

Wilson was taken into custody on the night of the shooting for weapons charges, released, and then arrested by Manteca Police the following week.

All three men had their bail revoked by San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Franklin Stephenson, and they remain in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail.

Additional details, Smith said, can’t be provided at this time because the investigation is still ongoing and rumors about what actually transpired paint somewhat of a grainy picture – something that her office can’t take into consideration until somebody steps forward with official information.

“People say things but they don’t want to be involved and they don’t want to step forward and they don’t want to provide information that may have,” she said. “We want to know what the truth is. This investigation is still ongoing, and if somebody out there has something, we just want to know what it is. But everybody wants to talk and nobody wants to step forward, and it’s unfortunate.”

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