By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News

Despite the objections of defense attorneys, a Santa Clara County judge ruled Friday that two brothers accused of killing a San Jose woman 25 years ago will be prosecuted together rather than in two separate trials.

Brothers David and Robert Zimmer are accused of killing Cathy Zimmer, 38, of San Jose, whose strangled body was found in her car at the San Jose airport wrapped in a patchwork quilt in 1989.

Both have pleaded not guilty and are being held in jail on no bail.

Superior Court Judge Hector also set the first major hearing in the case -- the preliminary hearing -- for May 23. At that hearing, a judge will decide whether there is probable cause to hold them over for trial.

Prosecutor Ted Kajani, who sought the consolidation, benefits from Ramon's ruling. Defense attorneys have argued the evidence against each man is flimsy. But the combined evidence makes for a stronger case -- Robert's DNA on the zipper of Cathy's pants and the fact that David benefited financially from her death.

Robert's attorney Steve DeFilippis argued Friday that he needed more time to do his own DNA analysis and review 800 pages and 16 CDs that Kajani turned over to him.



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