BRADENTON -- With the death penalty still a possibility, the trial for a Palmetto man charged with the fatal shooting of two brothers on Labor Day has been delayed until June 2017.
Devin Chandler, 25, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the slayings of brothers Khasem Yousef, 23, and Faares Yousef, 17, in their family's convenience store in Palmetto.
If convicted of first-degree murder, he faces the death penalty or life in prison.
Chandler attempted to change his plea to guilty last month when the defense argued the death penalty was no longer a potential sentence after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional that a judge -- not a jury -- had the final say on the death penalty.
Circuit Judge Diana Moreland denied accepting Chandler's change of plea while issues surrounding the death penalty were pending.
Last week, Moreland issued a written order ruling the death penalty was never completely invalidated by the recent Supreme Court decision. State lawmakers have changed death penalty law to comply with the ruling.
On Thursday morning, Chandler was back in court as the defense asked the judge to force Manatee County School District and the State College of Florida to release the victims' school records to help prepare for trial, which originally had been set for this month.
Assistant Public Defender Franklin Roberts said the defense is prepared to go to trial if the maximum punishment Chandler faces is life in prison but not if the death penalty remains a possibility.
Roberts waived Chandler's right to a speedy trial and the case was rescheduled for trial June 12, 2017.
Prosecutors did not object.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.