PRESCOTT, Arizona - Kenneth Thompson, accused in the murders of two people, has been declared indigent by a judge new to his case, paving the way for his trial, which attorneys said would likely happen in 2016.
Thompson, 28, of Doniphan, Mo., was arrested in connection with the deaths of Penelope Edwards, 35, and Troy Dunn, 38, of Prescott Valley. They were found dead in a burned-out home in the 4000 block of North Tonopah Drive on March 16, 2012.
Both victims sustained head trauma, and their deaths were ruled homicides, said Prescott Valley Police Sgt. Brandon Bonney.
Thompson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of misconduct involving weapons, and one count each of arson, burglary, criminal damage, and tampering with physical evidence.
He originally had a public defender because, when arrested, he filed a sworn affidavit saying he was indigent, with virtually no assets or cash.
But in a hearing last year, Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock said she believed he had access to at least $400,000, primarily through an inheritance.
Thompson argued that he did not have that money, and on Monday, Deputy County Attorney Steve Young said that he had seen documentation supplied by Thompson's lawyer and would agree to the fact that he has no money.
Judge Jennifer Campbell, who has taken over the case from Hancock, declared Thompson indigent and then asked Young about possible plea offers. He pointed out that this is a death-penalty case and said there was no offer on the table.
Campbell asked the two attorneys to estimate how long it would take to prepare for the trial now that the indigency issue has been settled, and they agreed that at least two years would be needed for witness interviews and for the mitigation expert to do research.