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8:55 AM Fri, Nov. 16th

Murder trial on hold

Ballistics report on June shooting deaths still not complete

KINGMAN ­ No ballistics report, no trial date.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez agreed on Wednesday to postpone setting a trial date in the double murder case against Robert Ronald "Bull" Benjamin, 43, of Golden Valley.

Benjamin is being held in the Mohave County Jail on first-degree murder charges in the June 20 shooting deaths of Andrea Lynn Eklund, 34, and Robert Al Reichenbacker, 44, both of Kingman. The couple were found dead of gunshot wounds in the early morning hours of June 20 at a residence in the 4500 block of Marilyn Drive.

Chavez agreed to postpone setting a trial date when he learned from defense Attorney Daniel Dirienzo of Prescott Valley and prosecuting attorney Derek Carlisle of the Mohave County Attorney's Office that the ballistics report still hasn't been compiled.

"At minimum, I want to know which gun certain bullets came from," DeRienzo said. "It's no secret that part of our defense is that one victim possessed one of the guns."

"We can't be ready for trial until the evidence is ready," Chavez said, adding he might consider ordering the lab to have the ballistics report ready by a specific date.

Chavez denied the defense motion for a full Rule 11 mental evaluation for Benjamin, saying there were no grounds to support a full competency evaluation.

Chavez also told DeRienzo defense has the burden of showing why the court should providing funding for medical treatment for the defendant, and that he will review the request at the same time that he reads Benjamin's preliminary mental evaluation report.

Benjamin's next court appearance will be for a status hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.