Six Muslims charged with the murder of a Buddhist monk in the central Myanmar town of Meiktila could face the death penalty, an official said Tuesday.

The six accused were charged on Monday with unlawful assembly leading to rioting, religious offenses, murder and assisting murder, reports the Irrawaddy. A 16-year-old, believed to be the seventh suspect, would be prosecuted in juvenile court since he is underage.

Myat Ko Ko, 20, the main accused, had confessed to the killing of the monk by stabbing him on March 20, according to Thein Than Oo, a lawyer for some of the defendants.

A verdict is expected on Friday, said Ye Aung Mint, Chief Justice of Mandalay Region, reports AFP.

Witnesses earlier told The Irrawaddy that a group of Muslims attacked U Thawbita, a Buddhist monk, while he was riding a motorbike after a conflict in a gold shop in Meiktila, triggering waves of religious violence that spread to neighboring towns.

At least 43 people were killed and thousands left homeless after Muslim houses were razed in riots. Fresh violence erupted last week in Oakkan, leaving one dead and nine others wounded.