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Motion to delay Chandler Kania murder trial denied

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Chandler Kania, accused of killed 3 people in a crash, leaves court Tuesday (WTVD)

A former UNC Chapel Hill student charged in connection with a fatal crash that claimed the lives of three people in July 2015, was back in an Orange County courtroom Tuesday.

During the hearing, the Chandler Kania's defense team put forth a motion to delay the trial. The judge denied the request and the October 3 trial date will stand.

Earlier in the day before a short recess for lunch, Judge Allen Baddour heard on motions to suppress key evidence in the case.

Kania's attorneys asked the judge to throw out the evidence that they say was collected illegally. The defense said jurors shouldn't see autopsy pictures, a blood test, pictures and video from Kania's cell phone and dash cam video once the trial gets underway.

Other motions were heard, while some are slated to be heard at another time because the defense wanted the witnesses sequestered. The judge said he would rule on all other motions by the end of the week.

The state wanted to keep some key witnesses - including the state Highway Patrol troopers who investigated the crash - in the courtroom during testimony.

"The motion to sequester then, is allowed," Judge Baddour said. "It is reciprocal for both sides, with the exception of law enforcement officers Foster and Trueblood, and family members of victims."

The troopers were the first witnesses called to the stand to testify about Kania's cellphone.

It was revealed that Kania's friends took the phone when Kania was leaving a fraternity party - hoping he would not leave without it.

One of the troopers also testified that he interviewed an injured Kania while he was on a stretcher shortly after the collision.

PHOTOS: I-85 crash

An Orange County grand jury indicted the then-20-year-old last year on three second-degree murder charges, three counts of felony death by a motor vehicle and one count of felony serious injury by a motor vehicle. He is also charged with obtaining alcohol with a false driver's license.

Darlene McGee, 46, of Charlotte, her friend Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, and Harris' granddaughter Jahnice Beard, 6, of Brooklyn, New York, were traveling home when their vehicle collided with a Jeep driven by Kania, who is suspected of driving drunk. Kania was headed northbound on Interstate 85 in the southbound lane at Exit 163. Harris' daughter, Jahnia King, 9, was also seriously hurt in the crash.

Darlene McGee, Felecia Harris and Jahnice Beard

Investigators say Kania purchased and consumed alcohol before driving the wrong way down Interstate 85. In court in July, prosecutors said Kania gave troopers someone else's ID when he was pulled over that showed he was 21-years-old.

Some Chapel Hill bars were fined and had their licenses suspended for allegedly serving the underage student.

Kania, who is from Asheboro, was released from jail after his family posted a $1 million bond. If convicted on all charges, Kania faces 40 to 50 years in prison.

Last month, on the steps of the courthouse, the victims' families held a candlelight vigil.

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