Jan. trial set for suspect in 2 Missouri killings

ST. CHARLES, MO (AP) - A trial is scheduled for early next year for a Hannibal man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and a man who was at her home.

Manuel Cazares will go on trial in St. Charles County on a venue change from Marion County.

The 33-year-old illegal immigrant is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the February 2009 stabbing deaths of 27-year-old Amanda Thomas and 25-year-old Patrick Epley. Police say he turned himself in soon after the killings and confessed to the crimes.

Cazares had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, but a St. Charles County judge refused to accept it earlier this year, saying it was too lenient. That judge since has recused himself from the

Cazares has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed on $1 million bond.

The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.
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