Judge snaps at DA, refuses to step aside

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The senior judge who has again ordered new trials in the slaying of a young Knoxville couple has refused to step aside from the case.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Judge John Kerry Blackwood announced his decision during a hearing in Knoxville on Thursday.

Blackwood ordered new trials for defendants convicted in the torture slayings of 21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom in 2007. His ruling came after it was revealed the judge who presided over the trials - Richard Baumgartner - had been addicted to prescription painkillers that he was buying illegally.

The hearing Thursday produced a sharp exchange during which Blackwood told Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols to sit down and threatened to cite him for contempt.

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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