KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP, abc24.com) - A Knoxville judge has ordered retrials for three defendants in the 2007 torture and slaying of a young couple, without responding to a motion by prosecutors to step off the case.
Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood previously ordered new trials based on the out-of-court conduct of pill-addicted Judge Richard Baumgartner, who left the bench in disgrace last year.
The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned Blackwood's order, reasoning that Blackwood had not shown how Baumgartner's out-of-court conduct affected what happened at trial.
On Tuesday, Blackwood again ordered new trials, this time stating that they were necessary because of unspecified credibility issues with witnesses.
Blackwood has not responded to a Friday motion from prosecutors asking him to step down and complaining that he would not allow a public hearing on the retrials.