Judge leaves murder case after criticism

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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – A Mississippi judge is stepping away from a murder case after the victim’s mother said the judge was being disrespectful.

Judge Andrew Howorth presided Wednesday during the initial appearance of a former Oxford police officer, Mathew Kinne, who is charged in the shooting death of 32-year-old Dominique Clayton. Prosecutors mentioned the possibility having another hearing to consider bail for Kinne.

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The victim’s mother, Bessie Clayton, later said Howorth had laughed during the hearing. She told reporters: “The judge has got to go.”

The Oxford Eagle reports Howorth issued an order Thursday recusing himself from the case. The order said it is unusual for a family to request a judge’s recusal but when someone is killed, relatives “should not necessarily be expected to behave rationally.”

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