– The Associated Press

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. – Lawyers in the case of a couple charged with killing a popular prep school teacher and dumping her body in the Connecticut River are planning for separate trials next year.

Allen Prue and his wife, Patricia, are accused of strangling and beating Melissa Jenkins, 33, after luring her out of her house with a ruse about a broken-down car in March. Jenkins’ SUV was found idling on her road with her 2-year-old son inside.

Lawyers in a St. Johnsbury courtroom Friday said the case of Allen Prue, who’s charged with first-degree murder, would be ready for trial as early as July.

“The evidence is highly technical. There’s lots of people looking at it,” said Dan Maguire, Allen Prue’s attorney.

The case of Patricia Prue, who is charged with aggravated murder, is scheduled to be ready for trial in May. She is accused of killing Jenkins during a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Police say the Waterford couple got the idea “to get a girl” and planned the crime, buying a stun gun and prepaid cellphone and driving by Jenkins’ home and the dam in Barnet where the body was dumped.

Patricia Prue’s attorney has asked that her trial be moved out of Caledonia County, saying she won’t get a fair trial because of the widespread media reports about the case.

Caledonia County State’s Attorney Lisa Warren is challenging the request, saying that moving the case this early would undoubtedly lead to similar arguments in another county. She also said negative publicity, without showing a prejudice, is insufficient to require the trial court to change venue.

Patricia Prue’s next court hearing is on Nov. 9.