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Separate "vampire' trials likely

Attorneys for a teenage cult of self-styled vampires accused of double murder said Friday that they don't want their clients tried together.

Rod Ferrell, 16, leader of the Vampire Clan; Scott Anderson, 17; Dana L. Cooper, 19; and Charity Lynn Keesee, who also called herself Sarah Remington, are charged in the Nov. 25 slayings of Richard and Ruth Wendorf. The Eustis couple were the parents of another clan member, Heather Wendorf, who was cleared in the case by a grand jury.

During a hearing Friday, Lake County Circuit Judge Jerry T. Lockett said Ferrell and Anderson will probably be tried apart from Keesee and Cooper. The judge tentatively scheduled Ferrell and Anderson's trial for February.

Cooper, the only defendant who has not waived her right to a speedy trial, could be tried as early as May. Her attorney, Mary Ann Plecas, said Cooper did not want to wait an entire year to face trial.

Prosecutor Brad King said he will not seek the death penalty against Cooper and Keesee even though he is seeking capital punishment for Ferrell and Anderson.

Ferrell and the others became attracted to vampires because of a best-selling, role-playing game and drank their own blood and that of mutilated animals, investigators said.

Detectives said cigarette burns found on Richard Wendorf in the shape of a V are symbols of Ferrell's cult.

According to an investigator's report released this week, Ferrell told friends in his home state, Kentucky, that his sign was a V with dots on each side signifying members of his cult. Investigators have said there was no evidence of vampirism at the slaying scene.