KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A judge who granted new trials to four people convicted in the slaying of a young Knoxville couple five years ago has explained why he won't step aside from the cases.
Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood's court order was made public on Monday. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Blackwood wrote he has not lost his objectivity in presiding over the cases but cannot act as the "13th juror" not having heard the testimony.
The crime victims were Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
Blackwood allowed new trials for all four defendants, who were tried and convicted separately. The state is not contesting one case.
Blackwood granted the retrials after it was revealed former judge Richard Baumgartner was illegally procuring and using painkillers during the trials.
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