Murder suspect to stand trial in October

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Hispanic man charged with helping to murder five men at an Inverness apartment complex will stand trial on capital murder charges in October, Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves announced during a May 10 hearing.

Alejandros Castaneda is facing two counts of capital murder after police believe he was involved in killing five men at the Cahaba Lakes apartment complex off U.S. 280 in Inverness on Nov. 20, 2008.

Because the case involves testimony from several non English-speaking witnesses, defense and prosecution attorneys are working to secure certified transcriptions in time for the October trial, said Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens.

“The initial expense numbers for transcribing those testimonies was about $50,000,” Owens said. “But because several federal government agencies got involved, they have agreed to let us use their transcripts. We just have to work on their time schedule.”

If the defense and prosecution attorneys get the transcripts in July or early August, the October trial date should stand, Owens said.

“In a capital case, you’ve got to allow the defendant proper time to prepare for the trial,” Owens said. “The judge will have to decide what the proper time to prepare is after we get those transcripts.”

During the May 10 hearing, one of Castaneda’s attorneys, Raymond Johnson, withdrew from the case. Attorney Glennon Threatt is currently representing the defendant.

Police discovered the victims with slit throats after they had been electrocuted and had their legs and arms bound with tape.

Along with Castaneda, Juan Francisco Castaneda, Christopher Scott Jones, Jaime Duenas-Rodriguez, Derrick Renone Green and Torre Jovan Gholston were also arrested and charged with the murders.

All six men have pleaded not guilty to the crimes, and are being held without bond in the Shelby County Jail. Court officials have not yet set court dates for the remaining five suspects.