Murder defendants’ trial dates coordinated

A trial has been delayed until May for two men charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Lawrence hip-hop artist.

Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild granted a prosecutors’ request to delay the trial for Durrell Jones, 24, Kansas City, Kan. Previously, the trial for Jones’ co-defendant — Major Edwards, 30, Lawrence — had been delayed until May because his attorney withdrew from the case because of a conflict.

Both men are charged in the October 2006 death of 28-year-old Anthony Vital, whose body was found on a private country lane 2 miles west of Lawrence. Vital died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Prosecutors were seeking the delay so the cases could be tried back-to-back.

Jones’ attorney objected to the continuance, because she’s moving to Florida at the end of the year. Fairchild granted the request and could require the district attorney’s office to pay for Jones’ attorney to return to the area to try the case.

Edwards’ trial is scheduled for May 3; Jones’ case will be heard May 17.