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The case against the trio of men charged in Somerton murder needs more time


Both defense and state note it as a "complex case"

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The two brothers, and one other suspect, accused of murdering a 27-year-old man in a Somerton neighborhood were back in court on Thursday morning.

But it will take another four weeks for any developments.

Brothers Gregorio Cota, 22, and Joshua Cota, 32, along with third suspect, 26-year-old Johnny Albert Valenzuela, are all charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The three were arrested and charged over a month after being connected to the death of 27-year-old Leo Melendez - a local barber who was shot and killed inside his own garage at the end of May.

In court on Thursday, the defense for each of the three suspects noted that this was a "complex case" with nearly 600 pages of discovery that they have not been able to fully dive into yet.

The state agreed but noted to the court that they intend to file a motion stating that this was a complex case.

In Arizona law, complex cases include (1) all First Degree Murder cases, (2) all cases that will require the court to consider evidence obtained as the result of an order permitting the interception of wire, electronic or oral communication, and (3) any case that the court, in a written factual finding, designates as complex.

Both sides agreed they would need more time before regrouping and moving forward.

Yuma County Superior Court Judge Roger Nelson then scheduled the next hearing for the end of September.

All three suspects remain in custody on a $1 million cash-only bond.

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Cole Johnson

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