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Judge will wait to make decision regarding joining of cases in Smith murder trial

After a motion to join the cases of the three men accused of conspiring to kill Kimberly Smith last October, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge James Kieffer said he wanted time to review the case as well as other related precedents before making a decision.

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel made the motion in hopes of trying the three men, including Smith’s ex-boyfriend, Darren Wold, as well as Jack Johnson and Justin Welch, using the same evidence in a single case.

Welch is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, while Wold and Johnson are charged with being party to first-degree intentional homicide.

Wold’s attorneys allege that their client had no involvement in a conspiracy to kill Smith, and they believe that lumping the three accused men together would prevent Wold from having a fair trial. They plan to show evidence that Jack Johnson and Justin Welch worked together without any involvement by Wold.

Both Welch's and Johnson's representatives argued on Monday that allowing Wold to testify against the others would impede their abilities to have fair trials as well.

Wold is alleged to have conspired with longtime friends Johnson and Welch to plan for Welch to fly from California to Wisconsin and murder Smith. The effort is alleged to be a plot for Wold to gain full custody of a son he and Smith had together. Smith was found stabbed to death in her Oconomowoc home on Oct. 1, 2009.

If Kieffer denies the request to join their trials, the state would be forced to try the three men in separate trials.

“It would be the state’s intention to produce the exact same evidence in all three trials,” Schimel said.

Kieffer said he would make his decision soon, but did not give a specific timetable.

In addition, Johnson's attorney, Jess Martinez Jr., will no longer be representing Johnson. Martinez will be having bypass surgery on his heart, and the court will provide Johnson with new representation.

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