Certification hearings are scheduled to begin Wednesday for two Weber County teenagers accused of killing young girls in separate incidents.

Weber County Attorney Reed Richards is attempting to get both 15-year-old boys certified to stand trial as adults for the Oct. 13 slaying of a 10-year-old Roy girl and the Oct. 23 slaying of a 5-year-old Layton girl.One teen has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tara Stark, whose body was found in a drainage ditch on the outskirts of Roy. The victim was last seen with the defendant about 3:30 p.m., and her body was found a few hours later near her home.

If tried and convicted as an adult, the boy could be sentenced to serve life in prison. His certification hearing will be before 2nd District Juvenile Court Judge Stephen Van Dyke.

Ten days after Stark was killed, a central Ogden teenager was arrested and charged with killing Bobbie Jo Hart. The girl was visiting her grandfather in Ogden when she disappeared on Oct. 23. The following night, her body was found stuffed in a garbage can behind the defendant's home.

The defendant in that case is charged with first-degree felony aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty. His certification hearing will be heard by Judge Kent Bachman.

At first, police believed the Ogden slaying was a copycat killing of the Roy slaying because the two were similar. But the idea was discounted when the Ogden suspect said he knew nothing of the Roy case. Both victims were strangled, and Hart was molested. The defendants knew their victims.

Both judges have barred the public and the press from the hearings but have agreed to allow the media to hear their decisions.

Tom Jensen, chief probation officer for juvenile court in Weber and Morgan Counties, said in order for a juvenile to be certified as an adult, the judge must consider the seriousness of the offense, past criminal records and the likelihood of rehabilitation.

"The state will present witnesses that the child should not be dealt with as a juvenile and should be tried as an adult," said Jensen.

If neither defendant is certified to stand trial as an adult, they will remain in juvenile court and have their cases heard there. Jensen said if the teenagers are found "delinquent," they could be sent to Millcreek Detention Center where each would be set free on his 21st birthday, if not sooner.

Jensen said that 22 certification hearings were held statewide from January 1991 through Oct. 26, 1992. Of those, nine were granted, 11 denied and two were pending at that time. One certification that was granted involved a homicide in Salt Lake City.

Jensen, who served as chief probation officer for more than 12 years, said he can't recall two certification hearings held at the same time. "It's very unusual," he added.