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Man accused of murdering 2 in St. George may take plea deal

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 6:17 p.m. MST

Defense Attorney Gary Pendleton, left, Brandon Smith, center, and private investigator Todd Gubler listen to proceedings in Smith's aggravated murder case in 5th District Court in St. George,  Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Smith, 31, and Ashton, 33, are accused of murdering Jerrica Christensen, 20, and Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, in 2010. (Trevor Christensen , ) Defense Attorney Gary Pendleton, left, Brandon Smith, center, and private investigator Todd Gubler listen to proceedings in Smith's aggravated murder case in 5th District Court in St. George, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Smith, 31, and Ashton, 33, are accused of murdering Jerrica Christensen, 20, and Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, in 2010. (Trevor Christensen , )

ST. GEORGE — One of two men accused in a 2010 double homicide may be close to reaching a resolution in his case.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled to start Tuesday for Paul Clifford Ashton, 33, in St. George's 5th District Court on charges of two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder.

Ashton and Brandon Smith, 31, are accused of killing Jerrica Christensen, 20, and Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, on Dec. 11, 2010, inside a Main Street apartment in St. George. James Fiske, 28, was shot during the same incident but survived.

Since the homicides, the cases of both men have been dragged out in court, including cancelled preliminary hearings.

A five-day preliminary hearing that was supposed to start Tuesday for Ashton was cancelled. But this time it was because Ashton waived it and scheduled a resolution hearing for April 17.

Paul Ashton, left, and defense attorney Douglas Terry listen as Judge James L. Shumate confirms that Ashton has chosen to waive his right to a preliminary hearing in 5th District Court Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in St. George. Ashton, 33, and Brandon Smith, 31, are accused of murdering Jerrica Christensen, 20, and Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, in 2010. (Jud Burkett , AP) Paul Ashton, left, and defense attorney Douglas Terry listen as Judge James L. Shumate confirms that Ashton has chosen to waive his right to a preliminary hearing in 5th District Court Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in St. George. Ashton, 33, and Brandon Smith, 31, are accused of murdering Jerrica Christensen, 20, and Brandie Sue Dawn Jerden, 27, in 2010. (Jud Burkett , AP)

A preliminary hearing for  Smith was also scheduled to begin Tuesday. His case was continued for a review hearing, also on April 17.

Pat Reavy

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