- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Nevada Supreme Court has denied petitions from two murder defendants who wanted their potential death penalty trials delayed until the Legislature completes and reviews a cost study on capital punishment.

In an order issued last week, the Las Vegas Sun (http://bit.ly/1owuh5J ) reports the court said there is nothing in the legislative bill authorizing the study that precludes death penalty cases from proceeding. Prentice Marshall and David Burns had asked their trials be delayed until after the 2015 Legislature meets and considers the cost study.

Lawmakers in 2013 approved AB444, which required an interim cost analysis of Nevada’s death penalty. A report will be prepared for legislators to consider when they convene again next year.

The court said nothing in the legislative bill “expressly or implicitly precludes the state from seeking the death penalty or the court imposing the death penalty in capital cases commenced before or after the bill’s effective date.”

The court also said the Legislature not including any money for a new death chamber was no reason to prohibit death penalty cases from going forward in court.

Nevada’s death chamber was housed at Nevada State Prison. Parts of that facility dated back 150 years before it was closed in 2012 and inmates moved to other, more modern penitentiaries. State officials have said an execution could still be carried out there if necessary, though none is imminent.

The last execution in Nevada was in April 2006.

Marshall is one of six members of the Wood gang linked to the death of off-duty Las Vegas police Officer Trevor Nettleton in 2009 during a gun battle at his North Las Vegas home.

Burns is charged in a shooting that killed Derecia Newman and severely injured her 12-year-old daughter in August 2010 at Newman’s Las Vegas apartment during a robbery.

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com