The married couple who has been charged with the July 2004 murder of UCSB graduate student Jarrod Davidson remains in police custody after a Santa Barbara County judge denied them bail at a hearing earlier this month.

Grover Beach residents Malinda and Philip Jones face felony charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder for allegedly shooting Davidson, their former son-in-law, fatally wounding him in front of his home in Goleta on July 9, 2004.

At the defendants’ March 7 bail hearing, Judge George Eskin ruled that due to the nature of the charges filed against them, they did not qualify for bail and would have to stay in jail for the remainder of the case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Darryl Perlin said the prosecution plans to recommend life in prison without the possibility of parole as the maximum penalty if the defendants are eventually convicted – primarily because of their age – even though the case could have warranted the death penalty.

“In California, if you are charged with a capital crime, you are not eligible for bail,” Perlin said. “The judge is of the opinion that even though we are not going to seek the death penalty, the fact that it could have been an appropriate punishment for the crimes in this case made it necessary to deny them bail.”

Both defendants have pled not guilty to the charges against them. Perlin said the charges include special circumstances, alleging that the couple was lying in wait for Davidson and that Philip Jones used a firearm to commit the murder.

He said the prosecution and defense will meet in court Wednesday to set a date for a preliminary hearing, in which the prosecution must call witnesses and convince the judge that there was probable cause for arresting the defendants.

“We wouldn’t have filed the charges if we didn’t think there was probable cause,” Perlin said. “I believe that we have evidence sufficient to convict both defendants of the charges.”