HADLEY, Mass. (CBS/AP) Prosecutors say they will call up to 50 witnesses in their case against three girls accused of bullying 15-year-old Phoebe Prince so relentlessly that she took her own life.
Ashley Longe, Sharon Chanon Velazquez and Flannery Mullins appeared with their attorneys Thursday in Juvenile Court. Their cases are expected to go to trial in early 2011.
The three are among a group of six teenagers charged earlier this year with bullying Prince, a South Hadley High School student who hanged herself in January.
Their attorneys said Thursday they will file motions by Nov. 1 asking a judge to toss out the grand jury's indictments based on insufficient evidence. The lawyers also opposed prosecutors' request to have the first of the trials in December, saying they had volumes of information to review as they prepared their defense.
Judge Daniel Swords rejected the idea of starting the trials in December, but encouraged the attorneys to submit their motions and other paperwork quickly.
Longe, Velazquez and Mullins were each 16 when they were charged as youthful offenders with violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury. Mullins and Velazquez also are charged with stalking. All three have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say some of their witnesses are now in college and will be called back to the area to testify.
The teens and their attorneys did not comment after Thursday's court hearing, other than a brief statement by attorney Colin Keefe to reaffirm Velazquez's innocence.
Prince, who had recently emigrated from Ireland, hanged herself in January after what prosecutors call a relentless campaign of bullying by the other students.
According to prosecutors, Mullins, Velazquez and Longe were angry over Prince's brief relationship with Austin Renaud, Mullins' on-and-off boyfriend.
Renaud and another teen, Sean Mulveyhill, face statutory rape charges for allegedly having sexual contact with Prince. They have pleaded not guilty.
Mulveyhill and his ex-girlfriend, Kayla Narey, also face the same civil rights charge levied against Longe, Velazquez and Mullins.
The cases against Narey, Mulveyhill and Renaud are being handled in Hampshire Superior Court, where all have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say they are expected to go to trial after the three younger teens.
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