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The US teens accused of bullying Irish classmate who killed herself

US prosecutors say they will call up to 50 witnesses in their case against three girls accused of bullying an Irish classmate so relentlessly that she committed suicide.

Ashley Longe, Sharon Chanon Velazquez and Flannery Mullins, all from South Hadley, appeared with their attorneys yesterday in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, Massachusetts. Their cases are expected to go to trial in early 2011.

The three are among a group of six teenagers charged earlier this year with bullying Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old South Hadley High School freshman who hanged herself in January.

Their attorneys said they will file motions by November 1 asking a judge to toss out the grand jury's indictments based on insufficient evidence. The lawyers also opposed a prosecutors' request to have the first of the trials in December, saying they had volumes of information to review as they prepared their defence.

Longe, Velazquez and Mullins were each 16 when they were charged as youthful offenders with violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury. Mullins and Velazquez also are charged with stalking. All three have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say some of their witnesses are now in college and will be called back to the area to testify.

Miss Prince, who had recently emigrated from Fanore in Co Clare, hanged herself in January after what prosecutors call a relentless campaign of bullying by the other students.

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