MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Thursday, the two people accused of killing Natalie and Chase Deblase were in court for a pretrial hearing.
A judge heard more than a dozen motions in the capital murder case of John Deblase, the children's father and his former common-law wife, Heather Keaton.
The two may be re-indicted on three counts of capital murder instead of four.
Deblase was in the courtroom much thinner and was trembling throughout the hearing. His attorney, Jim Sears, said he is sick.
"He has a bug. He's in jail of course and subject to all of the influenza creatures they are exposed to," said Sears.
Almost two years ago the bodies of 4-year-old Natalie and 3-year-old Chase were found.
The details of the crime are chilling.
Investigators said the children were tortured, poisoned, and then their bodies dumped in the woods.
District Attorney Ashley Rich said it's a crime that touched the entire area.
"All the citizens in Mobile County are concerned, and we just want to make sure that we get this case tried and get it to a jury," said Rich.
Both Deblase and Keaton were in court as Judge Rick Stout heard more than 20 pretrial motions.
One of them was to amend the indictment.
Along with child abuse charges, the couple is charged with four counts of capital murder: two counts each for killing a child under 14 and two counts each for killing multiple victims in the same crime.
Thursday, Judge Stout ruled to combine two of those, leaving Deblase and Keaton each with three counts.
Rich said an amended indictment won't make a difference moving forward.
"We are seeking the death penalty in this case," said Rich.
There will be another grand jury, and a new indictment is expected.
Most of the other motions dealt with the selection of jurors.
"We want to be a fair jury. People that can sit down and hear all of the evidence and rule on the evidence," said Sears.
Keaton and Deblase will be tried separately.
Deblase's trial will be in October and Keaton's in January.
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