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Pair Will Stand Trial For Air Tanker Deaths

A Mendocino County judge says two men must stand trial on second-degree murder charges in the deaths of two air tanker pilots who collided while fighting a forest fire.

Superior Court Judge Henry Nelson ruled yesterday that Frank Brady of Redwood Valley and Richard Mortensen of Placerville can also be tried on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Mendocino County District Attorney Norm Vroman says he´s confident he can win a conviction.

Brady and Mortensen are blamed for the deaths because officials believe a fire they built for the meth lab got away from them in August and started the 250-acre blaze near Hopland.

Pilots Lars Stratte of Redding and Larry Groff of Windsor died when their planes collided in mid-air while fighting the blaze for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.