More than a year after a gas station clerk was shot and killed during an armed robbery in Waukesha, one of the suspects is set to go to a trial.
Darrin Malone, charged with felony murder-party to a crime in the killing of 65-year-old clerk Saeed Sharwani, will face a jury next week at the Waukesha County Courthouse.
A jury status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11, followed by a jury trial on Feb. 15. Judge Lloyd Carter will officiate the trial, which could extend to Feb. 19.
Malone, 29, is one of three people charged in connection with the robbery homicide.
He is currently confined to the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, pleaded not guilty last March for his part in the homicide. A trial had been scheduled for last October but was postponed.
In the meantime, Carter ruled in December that evidence from another robbery Malone allegedly was a part of just days before the Waukesha homicide at a 7-Eleven in the town of Brookfield with the same suspects in the Sharwani killing could be used at the trial.
Malone has not been charged in the Brookfield incident but it is referenced in the criminal complaint for the Waukesha shooting.
The jury trials for the case's other suspects, Kenneth Thomas and Jerica Cotton, are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23. Jury status hearings for both are scheduled for Feb. 18.
Thomas, 20, is accused of killing Sharwani and is charged with first-degree intentional homicide with use of a dangerous weapon. He is also charged with six other felony counts, including armed robbery and a felon possessing a firearm.
Cotton is the alleged getaway driver and is charged with felony murder-party to a crime.
Circumstances of crime
According to the criminal complaint, Thomas told investigators that he, Malone and Cotton drove around Waukesha until they found the Citgo gas station at 1445 Whiterock Avenue on Jan. 13, 2015. When they got near the Citgo, Malone allegedly handed Thomas the gun.
After being dropped off by Cotton, Thomas and Malone entered the Citgo gas station wearing green Halloween masks, which Thomas said Malone supplied, according to the complaint.
Thomas entered the station first, while Malone allegedly stayed in the background during the armed robbery and shooting. Thomas said Malone told Cotton where to drive and made a comment that "there was money out in Waukesha," the complaint said.
Thomas said in the complaint that he jumped over the counter when he saw Sharwani drop the money. Thomas said Sharwani then came around the counter and grabbed him. Thomas said this "scared him," and the gun, which was in his hand, went off. Thomas said his finger was on the trigger, but he thought the safety was on the gun, according to the complaint.
Sharwani was shot in the chest and died shortly after he was transported to the hospital.
Thomas ran back to the vehicle where Malone and Cotton had been waiting, and they drove away.
Shortly after the investigation began, Thomas was arrested after a search warrant for a weapons offense was conducted at an apartment at 5861 W. Washington Ave. in West Allis. A green mask and 9-mm handgun were recovered there.
Cotton was arrested shortly later, while Malone wasn't arrested until a month later at a residence in the 4000 block of North 48th Street on Milwaukee's north side.