CINCINNATI (AP) — The retrial of a white former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with killing a black motorist during a traffic stop was assigned a new judge Tuesday after the judge in the first trial and two successors disqualified themselves.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz was selected to preside over the retrial of Ray Tensing on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the July 2015 shooting of Sam DuBose. DuBose was pulled over for a missing front license plate.
Among the new judge's first issues will be Prosecutor Joe Deters' effort to move the retrial out of the Cincinnati area. Deters has said jurors in the first trial were fearful of being identified amid community pressure in the racially charged case.
The first-trial judge, Megan Shanahan, said Monday that the retrial should be conducted with "a blank slate." She declared a mistrial Nov. 12 because of a hung jury.
The case was randomly assigned to Judge Tom Heekin, who recused himself Tuesday because he once represented one of DuBose's children in a civil court matter. It was then assigned to Judge Beth Myers, newly elected to a state appellate court job that she'll move into in February. She quickly disqualified herself.
Ghiz is a former Cincinnati city councilwoman who's been on the bench since February 2013.
Tensing testified in the first trial that he feared for his life when DuBose tried to drive away from the traffic stop. Attorney Stewart Mathews said DuBose tried to use his car as a deadly weapon. Deters repeated last week that he believes the shooting wasn't justified and said the evidence contradicts Tensing's story.
The case is among those across the country calling attention to how police deal with blacks.
In Charleston, South Carolina, a since-fired white patrolman, Michael Slager, testified in his own defense Tuesday in his murder trial in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, a black man shot while running from an April 2015 traffic stop.
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This story has been corrected to show that Judge Myers' new job starts in February, not January