Attempted murder case of 16-year-old may leave Judge Knize’s court
By 12/26/2002 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
ELLIS COUNTY - District Judge Gene Knize may not preside over the attempted capital murder case of a 16-year-old Maypearl girl, after defense attorney Rhonda Rieken filed a motion to recuse Knize.
The motion effectively postponed a Dec. 19 hearing that could reduce bond from $85,000 in the case against Corey Norman until an administrative judge can appoint a special judge to review the motion.
Norman, a 21-year-old Waxahachie man, was charged on Oct. 9 with attempted capital murder. The grand jury indicted Norman on Dec. 18, the same day the motion was filed.
According to the indictment, Norman used a cable saw to choke the 16-year-old girl. Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller, Jr. originally set bond at $50,000, but later increased it to $85,000.
Reports issued by the Ellis County Sheriff's officers indicate the victim was coaxed from her house about 11 p.m. where she was knocked unconscious to the ground and dragged into a field a little distance away.
According to reports, the assailant then attempted to strangle the girl and fled the scene. When the girl regained consciousness, she returned to her home and her parents called the Ellis County Sheriff's Department.
The charge against Norman is a capital offense because of the possible sexual assault. A crime is a capital offense if a second felony occurs during the course of the same incident.
Family members of the victim are currently dissatisfied with how the case is being handled by assistant district attorney Patrick Wilson.
The father of the victim has indicated there has been very little communication between Wilson and the victim's family.
'Nobody's telling me nothing. I haven't gotten a phone call from the district attorney or anything.
'The assistant district attorney has kept me totally in the dark on the process,' the victim's father said. 'I'm disappointed with how they have handled this. They definitely don't want us to know anything.'
The case has had a dramatic impact on the family and the victim's father. The victim's father indicated the family has not been comfortable since the incident occurred on Oct. 7.
'Our whole safe haven is destroyed. It seems like they're treating us like we're the assailant here,' the victim's father said. 'My son and daughter haven't had a good night's sleep since this happened. I just don't understand it.'
Norman's attorney had requested bond be lowered.
The victim's family began circulating a petition at stores and restaurants to oppose the request.
The petition stated, 'We are asking that our family, friends and concerned members of our community help ensure our 16-year-old's safety and emotional needs are met to the extent possible by either making a phone call or sending a letter to the powers-that-be in Waxahachie, Texas…and request that his bond remain as is or if anything increased, not lowered.'
The identity of the victim is not being released because of her age. The policy of The Ellis County Press is to withhold the names of juveniles.
'A motion to recuse is a motion based on a statute that sets out the limited circumstances when a judge cannot preside over a case,' Karla Baugh, an attorney in Grayson County, said.
The decision to remove current judge Gene Knize from the case will rest on the shoulders of a judge appointed by an administrative judge. Rieken would not comment on why the motion was filed.
'We're still investigating the case and therefore it would be improper to comment on the case at this time,' Rieken said.
Norman has a prior indictment from April 1999 for assault, the indictment stating he stabbed a man with a knife.
The crime was a class A misdemeanor.
Knize presided over the case.
Norman pled guilty to the charge and received two years probation and $1,500 restitution on July 30, 1999 as part of a plea bargain.
The case currently remains under investigation, according to Lt. Danny Williams of the Ellis County Sheriff's Department. Sgt. James Ledbetter is leading the investigation.