Two former Central Maine men accused in the gunshot slayings of an Augusta couple in California could face the death penalty under California law.

Robby Alan Beasley, 30, formerly of Augusta, and Elijah Bae McKay, 28, a former state champion wrestler from Gardiner Area High School, are charged with murdering Frank Maddox, 32, and his wife, Yvette Colon Maddox, 40.

Beasley and McKay were due back in Lake County Superior Court at 9 a.m. this morning to enter pleas to the two murder charges.

According a court clerk in California, the two are facing murder charges, with special circumstances: multiple murders in the first or second degree and using a 9 mm firearm in the commission of a serious felony. The charges carry a maximum sentences of life without parole or the death penalty.

A conviction on first-degree murder in California carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

Beasley appeared in court on the murder charges on Wednesday, and Judge Richard C. Martin ordered him held without bail, and defense attorney Stephen Carter was appointed to represent him on the charges.

McKay was also ordered held without bail after his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon, and was to return this morning to enter a plea, according to a court clerk. He was represented Thursday by attorney Richard Petersen.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in California said the charges filed on Wednesday resulted from a nine-month investigation which began with the discovery March 4 of the Maddoxes’ bodies in an embankment in a rural area of Lake County in northern California.

The charges say the murders occurred on or about Jan. 22, 2010. Relatives reported both Maddoxes missing in late January and early February. The couple had been staying in Clearlake, Calif., for several months.

Early in the investigation, Bauman said detectives learned Beasley had brought the Maddoxes to Lake County to work in a marijuana operation.

He was questioned in connection with their deaths, according to Bauman, and later charged with marijuana cultivation.

McKay became a person of interest about a week into the Maddox murder investigation. He was arrested March 11 in Lake County on marijuana and weapons charges and released the same day on $10,000 bail.

He allegedly fled to Georgia and was brought back to Lake County on Oct. 19, where’s he’s been held on $2 million bail.

The Lake County jail records show McKay was born in Santa Rosa, Calif., but he graduated from Gardiner Area High School in 2001.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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