ATHENS, Ga.,None - A man accused of killing an Athens police officer said he won’t get a fair trial until he gets a new judge.
Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge attended a Monday morning court hearing where Jamie Hood made his request. The hearing was one of several scheduled to cover nearly 80 pretrial motions.
Hood is accused of killing Athens police officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian during a traffic stop in March 2011. Another officer was also wounded in the shooting, which stemmed from a carjacking investigation. Hood evaded arrest for days, but surrendered with nine alleged hostages on live TV while officers surrounded him at an Athens apartment.
During Hood’s last court appearance in February, he had a list of complaints about jail conditions, including his cell’s temperature, time spent outdoors and short visitations. He noted that he could have killed several officers but didn’t. On Monday, he echoed the same sentiments, saying he should get credit for taking responsibility for his actions.
"I know Officer Christian’s spirit is in this court room right now. I wonder how he'd feel if somebody's going to sit here and lie in court about the way he died," Hood said. “I could’ve said I didn’t do it."
On Monday, Hood said Judge Lawton Stephens should be recused because of his relationship with Tony Howard, the surviving officer in the shooting.
"You said you went to the hospital and seen him in the hospital, and I feel like you’re really too close to Tony Howard to make the right decision for Jamie Hood," Hood said.
Stephens said he disclosed that he knew Howard early on and the defense has to file a motion for recusal. Hood filed the motion by the 5 p.m. deadline. If the ruling goes against him, Monday’s hearing could resume as early as Tuesday morning.