A judge has ordered three U.S. Marines to stand trial on a murder charge that could mean the death penalty if they're convicted.

The civilian judge in Long Beach, Calif., ruled Tuesday that Cpl. Ramon Hernandez, Pfc. Glenn Landers and Pfc. Anthony Vigeant — all in their early 20s — should be tried on a charge of first-degree murder during an attempted armed robbery.

The three are accused in the death of David Pettigrew.

Long Beach Police Detective Patrick O'Dowd says Hernandez admitted shooting Pettigrew last fall. The detective says Pettigrew was shot because Landers and Vigeant claimed he owed them cocaine and money.