Trial Dates For Murder Suspects Postponed

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A year after Thomas Georgatos, 21, and William Sweatt, 35, allegedly murdered a Payson man and stashed the body in the trunk of a burning car, the postponed murder trial still won't commence for at least "several months," according to the Gila County Attorney's office.

The two suspects allegedly killed Roger Patrick Watson on Feb. 27, 2007 and left his body in the burning hulk of his girlfriend's car on Cracker Jack Mine Road, in what police reports indicated was a possible drug deal gone bad.

Georgatos' trial, originally set for Feb. 27, included charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, arson of an occupied structure, hindering prosecution in the first degree, abandonment or concealment of a dead body, tampering with physical evidence, misconduct involving weapons, possession of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The trial has now been postponed to at least the end of March, said County Attorney Daisy Flores.

She said Georgatos' lawyer, Michael B. Bernays of Phoenix, asked for the postponement due to a previous federal case at which he must be present in court on the same date as Georgatos' trial.

William Sweatt, originally scheduled for trial on Feb. 27, also got a postponement "at least until four to six weeks later than his original trial date," said Flores.

Originally, a grand jury indicted three Payson residents for the murders in March 2007. However, McGeough, 34, entered a plea bargain in October. He originally also faced first-degree murder charges.

Flores said much of the agreement with McGeough is in a sealed addendum, meaning only the court may have access to it. The plea bargain means he will serve five years in prison on the charge of hindering prosecution and will testify for the prosecution.

Flores said once new dates have been set, both trials for Sweatt and Georgatos will be held in Globe.

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