Knize to hear murder case
By 01/23/2003 00:00:00
Judge denies recuse motion on ‘bias' claim
The Ellis County Press
ELLIS COUNTY - 40th District Judge Gene Knize will preside over an attempted capital murder case after a visiting judge denied a motion to recuse him from the case due to bias.
The recuse motion, filed by defense attorney Rhonda Rieken postponed a Dec. 19 hearing that would have reduced the bond from $85,000 in the case against Corey Norman.
Norman, 21, was charged Oct. 9 with attempted capital murder of a16-year-old Maypearl girl.
A grand jury indicted Norman Dec. 18, the same day the recuse motion was filed.
Administrative Judge Pat McDowell said there wasn't evidence of bias and nothing indicated Knize would have a bias toward the case.
The motion to recuse is based on state law setting out the limited circumstances when a judge cannot preside over a case.
However, some friends and family members of the victim said they believe such a bias exists, because Norman's mother is a Midlothian police officer.
According to sheriff reports, Norman lured the victim from her house around midnight, where she was knocked unconscious and dragged to a nearby field. Norman then used a cable cord to try to strangle her, the reports stated.
When the girl, whose name is not being used, regained consciousness, she fled back to her house, where her parents called the sheriff's department.
Bond was set for $50,000 for attempted capital murder charges, but was later bumped up to $85,000 by Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr.
The victim's friends and family members tried to persuade Knize and others to not lower the bond rate using e-mail, letters to the editor and petition signatures.
Norman has a prior indictment from April 1999 for assault. Norman reportedly stabbed a man with a knife.
Knize presided over the previous case and handed down a two-year probation sentence, with Norman ordered to pay $1,500 as part of a plea bargain.
With the judge's motion, friends and family are now faced with more setbacks. They have said cooperation with the Ellis County District Attorney's office has been frustrating.
The victims have no rights, they said.
'Nobody's telling me nothing,' the victim's father said. 'They definitely don't want us to know anything.'