MAYS LANDING - An April trial date is planned for a couple accused of kidnapping and killing a visitor to Atlantic City last year.
Superior Court Judge Michael Donio told attorneys for Jessica Kisby, 25, of Egg Harbor Township, and Craig Arno, 45, of Atlantic City, he wants to start their trial by the second week of April. The trial originally was scheduled to begin in May, but Donio moved it up "for a variety of reasons."
The defendants are charged in a weeklong crime spree that included allegedly abducting Martin Caballero, 47, of Hudson County, from the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort parking garage May 21, 2010, and then killing him.
Donio discussed logistics and set dates for motions for the trial at a hearing Tuesday morning with Kisby's attorney Steve Scheffler, Arno's attorney Eric Shenkus and Atlantic County First Assistant Prosecutor Jim McClain. They discussed matters such as questions for selecting jurors, security during the trial and the defendants' clothing.
Donio said he wants to begin jury selection the first week of April and start the trial the following week.
Arno is being held at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and will be delivered each day by four New Jersey Department of Corrections officers. Kisby is being held at Cape May County Jail and will be transported to the courtroom by Atlantic County Sheriff's Officers.
Shenkus asked that the officers have less visibility so as not to infringe on his client's rights.
"I am surrounded by six officers," Shenkus said. "The level of security does not have to be so obvious."
The officers will be dressed in plain clothes and stationed throughout the courtroom. Shenkus also asked for the court to provide Arno clothing during the trial.
"We're not going to go to Boyds with a credit card," Donio responded.
Arno told Donio he does not know where his possessions are and does not have relatives in the state that could supply clothes. Donio said Shenkus could pick up clothing at the Atlantic County Jail for him.
The couple allegedly attacked Caballero inside the casino's parking garage, then drove out of the city. Caballero's car was found engulfed in flames early the next morning in the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, Camden County.
According to the charges, the crime spree began the day before Caballero disappeared. Arno allegedly put a pellet gun to the head of a woman working the counter at a Hamilton Township Dunkin' Donuts and said he would kill her if she did not hand over money.
The 39-count indictment against each also includes allegations of robbery and attempted murder for a May 24, 2010, incident at the Kmart in Pleasantville, along with the theft of a minivan May 27 in Atlantic City.
The couple were arrested the next day at the Golden Key Motel in Egg Harbor Township's West Atlantic City section.
A second fatal carjacking occurred Sept. 18 at the Taj Mahal.
Sunil Rattu, 28, of Old Bridge, Middlesex County, was killed with two gunshots to the head. His girlfriend, Radha Ghetia, 24, of Sayreville, Middlesex County, was shot in the upper body but survived.
Raheem Simmons, 18, Eric Darden, 20, and Phillip Byrd, 20, all of Camden, are accused of forcing the couple to drive at gunpoint from the parking garage to an alley off the 500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where they were shot.
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