Three men have appeared at crown court by video-link accused of the murder of a businessman who was fatally shot, allegedly during a botched burglary.
Guy Hedger, 61, was killed in the early hours of April 30 after at least two intruders entered his £1 million home in Castlewood, Dorset.
A post-mortem examination found Mr Hedger died as a consequence of gunshot wounds, Dorset Police said.
Jason Baccus, 41, and Scott Keeping, 44, both of Verney Close, Bournemouth, along with Kevin Downton, 40, of Winterborne Stickland, near Blandford, appeared at Winchester Crown Court for a preliminary hearing of their case.
Judge Keith Cutler set a date for the defendants to enter their pleas to the charge of murder on July 26. A potential trial date was also set for November 14.
Keeping wore a red t-shirt for the hearing, Baccus had a grey sweatshirt and Downton wore a mauve sweatshirt.
The three defendants appeared by video link from Winchester Prison where they are being held.
Judge Cutler said: “I will remand each of you in custody until July 26.”
Police previously said a 40-year-old Bournemouth woman who was arrested in relation to the case has been released under investigation.
The alarm was raised at 3.03am on April 30 when police received a call reporting Mr Hedger had been shot with a shotgun. The insurance executive was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.
Mr Hedger’s partner, Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper, 48, a voluntary sector worker, was also in the house at the time.
Mr Hedger’s family paid tribute and said: “Guy was a caring and compassionate partner, son, brother and uncle who lived life to its full and enriched the lives of all those who knew him.
“Guy will be sorely missed by family, friends and colleagues, but he will live in our hearts forever.”
Mr Hedger was a director of the Avonbourne International Business and Enterprise Trust, which runs colleges and a primary school in the Bournemouth area.