KINGMAN - A Kingman man charged with first-degree murder was confirmed to go to jury trial on Sept. 27 during a trial management hearing on Monday.
Raymond Carlton, 23, is accused of murdering Christina Buus, 19, also of Kingman, last July on their way back to Kingman from Las Vegas. The co-defendant of the murder, 17-year-old Kingman resident Veronica Bravo, had previously accepted an offer from the state and pleaded guilty to attempted murder. She agreed to testify at Carlton's trial.
Deputy County Attorney Lee Jantzen said that the state would not offer any kind of plea agreement to Carlton prior to the trial, given the cruel nature of the crime.
"When I look at the facts (of this case), this is a case that is different from most other first-degree murder cases, so we decided to move it forward to a jury trial," Jantzen said, adding that the public would understand why this case is different when the trial concludes.
Defense attorney Rick Williams told the court he and his client are ready for trial, though he said that he reserved the right to file new motions before the trial date.
Jantzen and Williams both agreed to a 12-member jury with two more members sitting as alternates. Four to five days would be needed for the trial, they agreed.
Jantzen told the court he would call in more than a dozen witnesses, including seven police officers, doctors and eyewitnesses, to testify. Williams said he would call in only one witness, Michael Smith, to testify. He did not disclose on which specific area his witness would testify.
Prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty against Carlton at a previous hearing. If convicted, Carlton would face either natural life or life in prison with at least 25 years guaranteed. Carlton is also charged with aggravated assault, a dangerous felony, and punishable from 7-1/2 to 25 years.
A report with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office showed the crime took place last July when Carlton drove Buss' 1997 Jeep Cherokee back to Kingman from Las Vegas with Buss sitting in the passenger seat and Bravo in the back seat.
The report said Bravo attacked Buss with a knife, as the moving vehicle was southbound on U.S. Route 93. As Buss pleaded for her life, Carlton pulled his gun and shot her in the head, the report said.
The report indicated that both Carlton and Bravo might have used drugs prior to the murder.