The trial of two cousins accused in the robbery, beating, kidnapping and strangling of a Highland Road couple in 2015 was pushed back Thursday to March 23, the seventh trial date set in the first-degree murder case.

Frank Garcia, 51, and Ernesto Alonso, 47, were scheduled to stand trial Oct. 7 in the killing of Denis "Bubbie" Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne "Suzy" Duplantier, 70.

However, the prosecution's appeal of a judge's ruling that the high-profile case can't be heard by East Baton Rouge Parish jurors due to extensive pretrial publicity is pending at a state appellate court, and Garcia received new attorneys Thursday.

Alonso performed landscaping work for the Duplantiers and lived on other property owned by them.

Their bodies were found Oct. 19, 2015, in the back seat of their red pickup at a Hammond gas station. Alonso's white pickup was captured on surveillance video as it followed the couple’s truck into the Petro truck stop, authorities have said. Alonso’s truck was later discovered at Garcia’s residence in Hollywood, Florida.

A safe inside the Duplantier home was found open, with cash missing, and blood was located in several rooms. A large amount of cash and a number of unspecified items believed stolen from the home were found at Garcia’s home in Florida, authorities said.

After discussions with the victims' families, prosecutors announced in 2016 they would not seek the death penalty against either man. They face life in prison if found guilty as charged.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.