Preliminary hearings planned for couple accused of multiple burglaries

Victoria Asta appears in 1st District Court for a pretrial conference, Tuesday in Logan, Utah. Asta is being charged with aggravated robbery and burglary as well as other charges after she led police on a high speed chase.

LOGAN — A judge has scheduled a joint preliminary hearing for a man and woman accused in last week’s armed robbery in Paradise and other burglaries.

Douglas L. Birkinbine and Victoria Asta appeared separately in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. Both face multiple felony charges including aggravated robbery and burglary, assaulting a police officer, failing to stop at the command of police and other charges.

<p class=”Standard”>Birkinbine and Asta are suspected of robbing a home in Paradise at gun point and later leading deputies on a high speed chase that ended in Logan.  Investigators have also linked the two suspects to at least seven other burglaries.

During Tuesday’s court appearance, public defender Shannon Demler, who was assigned previously to represent the suspects, said he had met with both of them and asked for a joint preliminary hearing to be scheduled. He explained that all of the police reports had not been given to him yet and he was still gathering all of the information in the case. He also suggested that because the two suspects are co-defendants, a separate attorney should be assigned to represent one of them.

Judge Brian Cannell agreed and assigned Bryan Galloway to represent Asta. He also set a preliminary hearing date for December 9.

Salt Lake County court records show Birkinbine previously pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder in 1997. The 53-year-old was sentenced to serve one-to-fifteen years in prison.

Asta is believed to have been the getaway driver during last week’s getaway chase. The 51-year-old also faces a reckless driving charge.

Both are being held in maximum security at the Cache County Jail.

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