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Trial Ordered In Deaths Of 4 Suspected Escorts

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STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) - A Sterling Heights  man charged with killing four suspected escorts has been ordered to stand trial.

James Brown is accused of killing the women in pairs on two days in 2011, and then abandoning the bodies in cars.

Judge Michael Maceroni decided that there was enough evidence for a trial after hearing testimony about DNA, phone calls and incriminating statements.

In court testimony, Wednesday, Brown admitted to having sex with one of victims. He also admitted to burning two of their bodies after putting them in a car and driving to the east side.

Detroit detective Derryck Thomas testified that Brown admitted he was with the women in his basement when they died. Thomas said Brown told him that he fell asleep and found the women lifeless when he woke up.

A state police scientist told the judge that Brown’s DNA was under one of the victims’ fingernails and blood matching the victims’ was found at his home.

Also on Wednesday doctor who testified the victims died of asphyxiation, a lack of oxygen to the brain.  Dr. Francisco Diaz, an assistant Wayne County medical examiner,  said it’s possible for someone to be asphyxiated without a struggle, especially if the attacker is larger than the victim. Brown is a large, muscular man and Diaz said the women may have died as Brown sat on them.

The bodies of 24-year-old Demesha Hunt and 23-year-old Renisha Landers were found in separate car trunks in Detroit. The bodies of two additional women, Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary, were found Christmas Day in the trunk of burning car.

Brown said he met the women through Backpage.com, which carries classified and personal ads.  The website has been connected with multiple crimes in southeast Michigan in recent months.

(More on this story).

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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