Preliminary hearing date set for Capone and Stone

MOSCOW, ID - Charles Capone and David Stone appeared in the Latah County Courthouse Thursday morning to set a preliminary hearing of their trial for the murder of Rachael Anderson.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin gives us an update on the court proceedings, and explains why capital punishment is an option for both defendants.

Last week, two Moscow men were arrested for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the 2010 disappearance of Rachael Anderson. Thursday morning, the defendants, Charles Capone and David Stone, appeared in court to schedule their preliminary hearing.

"Sometimes it's referred to as a mini-trial," said Latah County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson. "There's no jury, but there's a judge. The defendants have a right to be present with their attorneys and we will call witnesses to testify and to offer evidence."

Thompson says that after three years of investigating, this preliminary hearing could take a couple of days.

"Well this case is unusual just because it is largely circumstantial," said Thompson. "Rachael's body has not been found, and so it's going to require the presentation of evidence from a number of different sources so the judge can consider the whole picture."

The hearing was set for June 27th and the judge decided to hold both defendants without bail, despite the request of Stone's defense attorney, who argued that Stone is an active member of the community who wouldn't skip out on a court date.

"Mr. Stone, as far as I know, had no alcohol problem, no drug problem," said Defending Attorney Charles Kovis. "He attends church groups."

"Our position at this point is that they are not legally entitled to bail," said Thompson. "The case is still in its early stages, the charges are extremely serious."

Thompson said the charges are so serious that the death penalty is an option.

"Capital punishment is authorized penalty for first-degree murder, and for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder," said Thompson. "Both defendants are charged with those offenses."

However, the prosecution remains undecided on whether or not they will pursue that option.

"That's a decision that we take very seriously and we want to make sure that we take the time to ensure that we have all the facts and we've considered it fully before we finalize a decision," said Thompson.

After the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there is probable cause to believe these two men committed the crime.

Both men will have the same preliminary hearing. It's scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. on June 27th, and is expected to last through the 28th.