Two separate juries will hear the trial of four Santa Rosa gang members charged with killing the brother of a witness in 2008 in a beach parking lot near Jenner.
One panel will decide the fate of the alleged Asian Boyz ringleader, Preston Khaoone, 26, while the other will review the evidence against the accused shooter, Quentin Russell, 28, and brothers Sarith and David Prak, 25 and 23.
All four men are charged with kidnapping and murdering Vutha Au, 24, allegedly in retaliation for his brother's testimony in another gang-related case. They face life in prison without parole if convicted.
The dual juries were granted this week as an alternative to separate trials. Selection begins Wednesday with opening statements in about three weeks. Both juries will be seated together in an extra-large courtroom.
"The juries will hear most of the case together but there will be some evidence that is only heard by one jury," prosecutor Traci Carrillo said outside court Tuesday.
The 4-year-old case is moving ahead after numerous delays. It was postponed last year after two former co-defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Tyrone Tay of Suisun and Boonlak Chanpheng of Santa Rosa admitted kidnapping with gang enhancements. Chanpheng sent text-messages arranging Au's abduction and Tay delivered Au to the other co-defendants in his car.
They were sentenced to 18 years and 15 years in prison, respectively.
An earlier delay came when prosecutors were deciding whether to seek the death penalty. Then-District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua announced in October 2010 that he would not.
Now, the men who prosecutors say were present when Au was shot nine times in the Blind Beach parking lot will go to trial.
Prosecutors said the execution-style killing was payback for testimony from Au's younger brother, Terry Au, who was kidnapped and beaten by a group of drug-dealing gangsters that included two of Khaoone's brothers.
On March 2, 2008, after Terry Au testified at a preliminary hearing, the elder Au was abducted from a party and driven to the Sonoma Coast, blindfolded and gagged.
Once there, Preston Khaoone pulled a 9mm handgun from under his seat and ordered Russell to kill Au, according to a jailhouse informant who testified at a preliminary hearing about a conversation he had with Khaoone.
The informant testified Russell was reluctant at first but then "emptied out the whole clip" on Au after being chastised by Khaoone.
Au was found face-down and shoe-less with his arms underneath him. Eighteen shell casings were retrieved from the scene.
The four defendants were arrested the same day as they drove on Highway 116. A park ranger who spotted Au's body alerted sheriff's deputies to a car he saw leaving the parking area.
They have been in jail ever since.
Meanwhile, both sides are preparing for what promises to be a lengthy and complicated trial that is expected to be more than two months long.
Two sets of evidence will be presented to the two juries, which are identified as the "blue" and "green" juries.
Deputies on Tuesday afternoon discussed courtroom security issues with Judge Ken Gnoss. One was whether the men would be required to wear handcuffs in front of the juries.
Read all of the PD's fire coverage here