Upatoi triple murder suspects to stand trial together

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The judge has now made a final decision on whether to separate the three suspects accused of killing three members of a Upatoi family in January of 2016.

Presiding Superior Court Judge, Gil McBride deciding deny the severance motions by two attorneys. The trio now set to stand trial together.

Rufus Burks, Javarceay Tapley, and Raheam Gibson are accused of killing a 54-year old grandmother, her teen son, and a 10-year old granddaughter in their home.

This motion to separate came from Jennifer Curry who represents 17-year-old Rufus Burks, attorney Mark Shelnutt, and attorney William Kendrick who represent 21-year old Raheam Gibson.

The two wanted separate trials from Javarceay Tapley, who allegedly had the most involvement in gruesome deaths of the Upatoi family.

"A severance motion isn't something that is granted a lot. We feel like in this case it was warranted. The judge made his ruling, so at this point, we are going to be doing everything we can to be ready for court," said the attorney for Gibson, Mark Shelnutt.

The family of the victims says they are ready for this all to be over.

"We are definitely trying to get past this as quickly as possible. We will be happy to go forward and have some measure of life left to try and put this behind us and try to remember our family as best that we can," said Shameika Averett.

Burks, Tapley, and Gibson each face 10 charges, including three counts of murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault among other charges.

All three suspects face life in prison without the possibility of parole, if found guilty.

Another motion by attorneys asking for a change of venue was requested by attorneys.

The judge says he will determine that request once the trial starts.

The trial is set to begin Monday, October 30.

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