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Trial to begin for man in R.I. killing outside bank

PROVIDENCE — Jury selection is scheduled to begin Wednesday in the trial of one of three people charged in the 2010 killing of a Woonsocket gas station manager outside a bank.

Jose A. Santiago has pleaded not guilty to charges of robbery, conspiracy and using a firearm in a crime of violence in the death of David Main.

The case drew national attention when one of the people charged, Jason Pleau, was deemed eligible for the death penalty and became the subject of a battle over capital punishment between Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the federal government. Chafee had argued the state abolished the death penalty so Pleau should not be subject to it. The federal government ultimately won out, though Pleau last month agreed to plead guilty in a deal that allows him to avoid the death penalty.

Pleau, Santiago and Kelly Lajoie were charged in the robbery and killing of Main. Lajoie has also pleaded guilty.

Authorities say Pleau was the triggerman, Lajoie acted as a lookout and Santiago was the getaway driver.

Santiago’s attorney, John Calcagni, didn’t return a message seeking comment on the case. Santiago is from the Springfield, Mass., area.

Pleau has admitted as part of his plea deal that he armed himself with a .38-caliber revolver and waited outside a Citizens Bank branch for Main, who was headed there to deposit the gas station’s weekend receipts. Lajoie, camped outside the gas station, called Pleau to say Main was on his way. Pleau then accosted Main outside the bank, told Main to “give me the dough” and then shot him in the head as he ran for the door.

A grand jury indictment says Santiago waited for Pleau in a truck and drove him away from the scene after the robbery and killing. They then met up with Lajoie and split around $12,000 they got from the robbery and killing and used it to go shopping, authorities have said.

Pleau and Lajoie have not yet been sentenced.

The trial is expected to start next week and last about three weeks.

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