Three self-described white supremacists faced trial today on charges of murder and racial intimidation in the firebombing deaths of a white man and a black woman.
Defense lawyers for Philip B. Wilson, 21, and Leon L. Tucker, 22, were expected to argue the attack was an act of revenge for an earlier argument, but the deaths were unintentional. Defense lawyers for Yolanda Cotton, 20, will contend that she wasn't involved in plotting or carrying out the Sept. 26 firebombing of the Salem apartment of Hattie Cohens, 29, and Brian Mock, 45.
The three are charged with aggravated murder, arson, assault, and racial intimidation.
A fourth defendant, Sean R. Edwards, 21, has already pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder. He is expected to testify against the others.
According to police reports, Edwards and Tucker threw two Molotov cocktails through the basement window of the apartment shared by Cohens and Mock at about 3 a.m.