Shankles’ murder trial postponed until July

January 19, 2019

KINGMAN — The trial for one of five people charged in a double-murder in Fort Mohave has been delayed.

Lucas Wayne Shankles, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of kidnapping. He is being held in custody on a $1.5 million bond.

Shankles’ attorney, Christopher Stavris, asked to postpone his client’s trial that had been set for March 12.

Superior Court Judge Rick Lambert postponed Shankles’ trial to begin July 9 with a pre-trial hearing set for June 24. The judge also set a status hearing for March 19.

Shankles’ co-defendant Francisco Javier Romero Jr., 27, pleaded guilty in December to one count of first-degree murder and kidnapping. He will be sentenced Jan. 31.

Under the plea agreement, Romero will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years for the murder charge. He also will be sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison for the kidnapping charge.

Shankles, Romero and three other Bullhead City suspects are charged in the Jan. 10, 2018, murders of Mona Carter, 51, and Daryl Ward, 22, both of Bullhead City.

Lamya Lynn Bencheqroun, 27, and Jose Eduardo Vizcara, 29, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of abandonment of a dead body. Robin Denise Reid, 50, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of kidnapping.

A sixth co-defendant, Justin Todd Maxwell, 36, is charged with arson of a structure and hindering prosecution.

On Jan. 10, the suspects allegedly duct-taped Carter and Ward and drove them in an SUV to the desert east off El Rodeo Road in Fort Mohave. Maxwell reportedly arrived later, picked up the suspects, and allegedly burned the SUV.

Carter was found in the SUV with a single gunshot to her head. Ward was found near the SUV, shot three times in the torso, police reported.

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