Seven taxi drivers have pleaded not guilty to murdering DEA agent Terry Watson in Colombia’s capital last year, Colombian media reported on Wednesday.
At a hearing before a Virginia judge where the suspects were extradited, the accused declared their innocence after having been denied bail, according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the US Attorney’s Office decided to remove two out of six counts against the suspects, murder and assault on a US official, because those offenses were not included in the extradition authorization executed by Colombia’s Constitutional Court.
Because of the complex nature of the case, with most of the evidence being presented in Spanish at an American court, a trial date has been set for January 12, 2015, according to El Tiempo.
However, a deal could be made sooner than next near if the suspects confess to the murder, which could allow for reduced sentences.
On June 20, 2013, DEA agent Terry Watson was getting into a cab in Bogota after watching an NBA Finals game at a bar when another taxi pulled up behind his and several men jumped out.
Watson was stabbed and later died from his wounds.
The DEA agent fell victim to a scheme known as “millionaire rides” in which taxi drivers rob their passengers by taking them to ATMs and forcing them to empty their bank accounts.