RICHMOND -- The couple that allegedly killed a retired Hercules schoolteacher while on a crime rampage appeared in a Richmond courtroom Friday afternoon.

Judge Judy Johnson postponed until 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7 the plea hearings of Darnell Keith Washington, 24, and his wife Tania LeJune Washington, 25. The duo is charged with at least nine felony counts each, including the murder of 55-year-old Susie Ko while committing robbery, burglary and a carjacking -- special circumstances that could make the pair eligible for the death penalty.

"The investigation is active and ongoing (in Contra Costa County)," deputy district attorney Molly Manoukian said outside the courtroom Friday. "There is strong evidence in this case."

Ko's death Oct. 5 and the couple's arrest Oct. 10 capped a crime spree that was set off when Tania Washington on Aug. 28 helped spring her husband from San Bernardino County Jail, prosecutors said.

The couple allegedly committed crimes in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and in Washington state.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com and follow Twitter.com/roberthrogers