AUGUSTA — A trial date has been set for next July for a New York man who is accused of killing an Augusta couple in the early hours of Dec. 25, 2015.

In the meantime, David Marble and his attorneys will be able to learn what deal or inducement was offered to Timothy Bragg, who police say drove Marble on the night of the shooting in Manchester, as well as the identity of a confidential informant who police say saw Bragg buy two handguns for Marble.

Marble, 30, allegedly killed the couple — Eric Williams, 35, and Bonnie Royer, 26 — as revenge for a burglary tied intricately to illegal drugs and firearms dealings. They were shot to death about 3:30 a.m. as they sat in a Chevrolet Trailblazer on Sanford Road in Manchester.

In addition, Justice Michaela Murphy granted a motion Tuesday to try Marble separately on the charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Attorneys for Marble had argued that that charge would indicate Marble had prior felony convictions in Monroe County, New York, which might unduly prejudice the jury.

The motion hearing was held Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta with Marble present in the courtroom.

Marble has pleaded not guilty in the shooting deaths of Williams and Royer, as well as to the firearm possession charge.

A lengthy affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Marble, filed by Maine State Police Detective Christopher A. Tremblay, outlined the case against Marble that led to the indictments brought against him.

In the affidavit, Marble said he believed Williams, along with three other people, had robbed Marble’s Sewell Street apartment shortly after midnight, stealing televisions, backpacks, a gun and drugs while Marble was being driven to the Portland area and back on a drug run.

After the stolen items were taken to a Ridge Road home in Augusta, Williams was dropped off at his Easy Street house by one of the other perpetrators, according to the affidavit.

The woman involved in the burglary, one of the three people the affidavit says accompanied Williams to Sewell Street, said Royer called her later to say Marble called Williams and said he had been “cleaned out.”

Other people, including an unnamed informant — identified to defense attorneys in judge’s chambers Tuesday — told police that Williams had been working for Marble. They said Williams was supposed to collect Marble’s money from another drug dealer nicknamed “2Tall” on Dec. 23, but failed to bring it to Marble’s apartment.

The affidavit also states Marble arranged to buy two handguns, including a 9 mm Smith and Wesson, that same day, paying cash for the firearms and giving heroin to the people who went to get them for him. It says a Sig Sauer had been bought for Marble a day earlier under the same arrangement.

Marble, Williams and Royer, who was not implicated in the theft from Marble’s apartment, met in the early hours of Dec. 25 in Manchester not far from where Williams and Royer were living in Augusta, according to the affidavit and phone records obtained by search warrants. Police responded to Royer’s 911 call for help at 3:34 a.m. When they arrived, they found Williams behind the wheel of his SUV and Royer in the passenger seat. Both had been shot in the head and both were dead.

Marble was arrested four days later on Dec. 29 after a car he was riding in was stopped in Augusta. He was indicted in February by the Kennebec County Grand Jury.

Murphy set the trial date for July 17, 2017, set to last up to two weeks. Jury selection is expected to take place on July 13 and 14.

In August, Marble, who is being held in the Kennebec County jail, was found guilty of a terrorizing charge after he threatened a corrections officer at the jail. He was sentenced to serve 45 days.

While still in New York, Marble was convicted of robbery and criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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