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Judge reviews Ruben Ebron defense motion

Prime suspect in toddler's disappearance, boy's mother facing trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – About a month before the prime suspect in the disappearance of Lonzie Barton and the toddler's mother are due to stand trial together, defense attorneys continue to argue motions to separate some of the charges in what is scheduled to be a joint trial.

Ruben Ebron, who police say reported Lonzie missing on July 24, is facing six charges in all, three connected to the boy. The other three are related to what prosecutors said was his escape plan and bringing contraband into jail.

Last week, Judge Mark Borello ruled that Ebron and Lonna Barton, his then-girlfriend, will be tried at the same time. 

Both Ebron and Barton contend they had nothing to do with the boy's disappearance, and neither faces any charges directly related to it.

The joint trial for Ebron and Barton is scheduled to start Dec. 7. While the case will be tried jointly, they will have separate juries.

Ebron's lawyer argued Tuesday there should have a separate trial on the escape and contraband charges. Ebron's parents agree.

"I feel the last two things that were piled on are irrelevant to compare it to the first three, but they are going to try and join them," William Ebron Sr. said after the hearing. "I don't see the interconnectivity."

"What he is doing is wanting to stack things and keep him in jail and give him what time that's not even relevant," Wanda Ebron said.

Borello said he will rule on the Ruben Ebron defense motion over the next few days.

If Barton and Ruben Ebron are convicted of both child neglect and lying to police, they each face a maximum of six years behind bars.