SUSANVILLE -- Joanna McElrath's trial for the murder of her husband is scheduled to start Jan. 6 in Yuba County Superior Court.
McElrath, 37, and Robin Glen James, 48, were romantic partners in January 2011, when they are accused of conspiring to murder Susanville Police Officer Robert McElrath, 37.
The couple allegedly drugged Robert McElrath with a prescription narcotic before using his own car to drive him to a railroad trestle over the Susan River seven miles west of Susanville, where they allegedly shot him with his service weapon and returned later to dump his body off the bridge.
In March Judge John T. Ball ruled that the publicity surrounding the case was so extensive that neither defendant would receive a fair and impartial trial in Lassen County.
The trial in Yuba County's Marysville courthouse is expected to take four or five weeks, said Lassen County District Attorney Robert M. Burns.
He has charged them with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit murder and special allegations that the murder involved lying in wait and the use of a firearm. McElrath is also accused of committing murder for financial gain.
Her trial will be first, with James' trial to trail it, Burns said.
He announced in 2011 that he would not seek the death penalty for either defendant.
Both defendants have been in custody without bail since their arrests January 6, 2011.