Judge refines evidence for trial of airman accused of murder

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona judge has wrapped up a two-day hearing to refine the evidence in an upcoming trial for a U.S. Air Force airman charged in the death of a Mennonite woman.

Coconino County Superior Court Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols ruled Friday that text messages exchanged between the defendant, Mark Gooch, and his brothers can be introduced as evidence.

The prosecution says the exchanges show Gooch had disdain for the Mennonite community.

Gooch’s attorney says they were boisterous banter among siblings.

Gooch faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in last year’s death of Sasha Krause.

The three-week trial starts Sept. 21.

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