VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. (AP) _ Two ex-Marines and a former high school buddy were ordered Thursday to stand trial in the killings of more than two dozen wild horses shot with rifles.

A justice of the peace ruled there was enough evidence to order all three to trial on charges of maiming or killing another person's animal. Four other charges, including theft and grand larceny, were dismissed.

Charged are former Lance Crpls. Scott Brendle, 22, and Darien Brock, 21, and Anthony Merlino, 20, a construction worker.

The free-roaming horses were shot multiple times within a three-day period beginning on Christmas Day. They included young colts, pregnant mares and wounded mustangs that wandered for days before authorities chased them down and destroyed them.