A judge has ruled that the six suspects in the kidnapping and murder of newspaper reporter Gregorio Jimenez de la Cruz will face trial, Mexican prosecutors said.

The suspects will remain in prison until the trial because the serious nature of the charges against them means they cannot get bail, the Veracruz Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

State Judge Hernan Tejeda Alvarez reviewed the evidence and "determined it is sufficient and strong enough to continue the criminal proceedings against the defendants," the AG's office said.

Jimenez de la Cruz, a police reporter for the Notisur and Liberal del Sur newspapers, was abducted outside his residence in Villa Allende on Feb. 5.

The reporter's body was found on Feb. 11 along with those of union leader Ernesto Ruiz Guillen and a taxi driver in clandestine graves in the city of Las Choapas.

The judge issued his ruling on Wednesday, the day that the constitutional period for determining the suspects' legal status expired.

The five material suspects face kidnapping and murder charges in the Jimenez de la Cruz case and the other two cases, the AG's office said.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, and the Inter American Press Association condemned the killing of Jimenez de la Cruz, noting that a dozen journalists have been murdered since Javier Duarte became Veracruz's governor in 2010.

Veracruz Attorney General Felipe Amadeo Flores Espinosa has resigned, citing "personal reasons," the state government said in a statement released after the judge's ruling was made public.

A total of 87 journalists have been murdered since 2000 in Mexico, making it the most dangerous country in Latin America for members of the media, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said. EFE