Tree's double murder trial set for March 24; defense withdrew time waiver Friday

The trial for a man accused of murdering a teenage girl and the man who was apparently trying to defend her was set Friday for March 24.

Bodhi Tree is accused in the shooting deaths of Alan "Sunshine" Marcet and Christina Schwarz at an Eye Street house in Arcata last May 18, and for reportedly shooting Rhett August in Eureka last May 15. August survived. Tree faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

In court Friday afternoon, Tree stood silent with his head down as his attorney Heidi Holmquist said the defense would be withdrawing the time waiver and confirming trial dates.

Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said the timeline of proceeding to trial is set by the defendant.

"It's always tough on victims, it's always tough on the community, when these things get protracted," Gallegos said. "But the defendant does have the right ... although we all have differing opinions on how much time it takes to be prepared, it's important to understand we're all invested. Everyone who is prosecuted gets all the protections of the law."

According to the prosecution, Tree, 28, shot August in an act of retaliation after Tree was beaten up by several men at August's Eureka apartment several days earlier.

Tree was released from prison a few weeks prior to the shootings after serving 16 months for felony evasion of a peace officer. According to court testimony, he was living in a Eureka clean and sober house at the time of the shootings.

A trial confirmation hearing has been scheduled for March 10.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.