George Brinkman has already been convicted in the slayings of three women in Cuyahoga County.

CANTON  A man charged in the 2017 shooting deaths of a Lake Township couple is set for trial this summer.

During a hearing Thursday, Stark County Common Pleas Court Judge Chryssa Hartnett said the trial of George Brinkman remains scheduled for July 15.

Brinkman, 47, faces aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and other charges tied to the deaths of Rogell "Gene" John, 71, and Roberta "Bobbi" John, 64. The couple was shot to death in their home on June 12, 2017, while Brinkman was housesitting, according to investigators.

Brinkman faces the death penalty, if convicted.

The Johns were killed less than a day after Brinkman murdered three women in North Royalton. He was arrested a few days later in North Royalton following a standoff with police.

Brinkman pleaded guilty to charges in the Cuyahoga County case and was sentenced to death late last year by a panel of common pleas judges.

He admitted to the slayings of Suzanne Taylor, 42, Taylor Pifer, 21, and Kylie Pifer, 18. Brinkman also was sentenced to an additional 47 years on kidnapping, aggravated burglary and felonious assault charges stemming from their deaths.

At Thursday's hearing, Hartnett ruled on some of the motions filed in the Stark County case.

A pretrial is scheduled for 1 p.m. on May 16. Along with two counts each of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, Brinkman faces charges of aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.

Motions addressed at the hearing included those involving the defendant's request for daily transcripts of proceedings during the trial; a defense request for a second round of jury selection between the culpability and mitigation phases in the event the case proceeds to the mitigation phase; and a defense motion seeking to exclude prospective jurors who cannot fairly consider mitigating evidence and/or who would automatically vote for death upon a finding of guilt in the culpability phase.

Hartnett granted the motion related to the issue of automatically voting for death upon a conviction. She ruled against the defense request for the daily transcripts but said if there's an issue with a particular portion of the trial or a witness, she'll consider it on a case-by-case basis. Hartnett also ruled it was unnecessary for a second round of jury selection between the culpability and mitigation phases.

Hartnett also told attorneys she would be finalizing drafts of general questions to be asked to potential jurors. If there's any potential resolution to the case (a plea agreement), the judge said she would like it to be reached before juror summons are mailed out later this month.

Brinkman's last known address was in Plain Township when he was indicted on the Stark County charges, according to court records.

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ed.balint@cantonrep.com

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