MAYVILLE – A pretrial conference was held Monday in the chambers of State Supreme Court Justice John Ward in the case of four men charged in the brutal home invasion slayings of a Town of Frewsburg couple.
David Coggins, 34, and Joshua McCormick, 21, both of Elmira, face first-degree murder and other charges after a Chautauqua County grand jury indicted them in April.
The other two defendants are Ricky Knickerbocker and Steven Todd, both 18.
District Attorney David W. Foley said that because of their age, they could not be charged with first-degree murder.
He said the statute requires that they be over age 18.
They were charged with second-degree murder and other counts.
The four men face additional charges of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree felony murder, one count of first-degree arson, two counts of first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, second-degree burglary and fourth-degree conspiracy.
Gordon and Joyce Skinner were found slain in their home in the rural township after a call went out about a house fire April 17.
The couple had reportedly been tortured during a home invasion before their house was burned down.
Nathaniel Barone, of the Public Defender’s Office, will be representing Coggins in the case.
The three other defendants received assigned counsel.
A March 11 trial date has been assigned for Coggins, who is expected to be the main defendant in the case.
Prior to the trial, several hearings are expected to take place as both sides submit motions on the evidence in the case.
Barone said he has recently received a large amount of evidence and will be taking the time before the start of the trial to sort through the documents.