The county official recently appointed to replace the Missouri attorney generals office in prosecuting a 1990 murder case is asking to be replaced by a special prosecutor.
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
Livingston County Prosecuting Attorney Adam Warren was appointed Jan. 29 to handle the case against Mark Woodworth, who is facing trial for the third time in the killing of Cathy Robertson outside Chillicothe, Mo.
The day after Warrens appointment, members of the Robertson family wrote a letter to Warren asking him to recuse himself.
Among reasons listed by the family was Warrens social media account having been added to a Facebook group that prejudges the case in Mark Woodworths favor.
Warren subsequently filed the motion for appointment of a special prosecutor, stating that he has a conflict of interest because of a social media position which may cast a prejudgment claim on the prosecutors review of the guilt of the defendant and the evidence against him.
On Wednesday, attorneys for Woodworth filed a motion opposing Warrens request. They alleged that the Robertson family inappropriately was trying to influence the case.
Warren has no conflict of interest, and there is no plausible evidence to suggest any type of bias, the defense attorneys wrote.
The judge scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing for arguments on the motions.
The attorney generals office was appointed to prosecute Woodworth in 1993. A previous Livingston County prosecutor had asked to be disqualified after Robertsons husband, who was wounded in the same incident, sought his removal.
Lawyers for the attorney generals office handled Woodworths two trials, both of which ended with him being convicted of murder. But both convictions were overturned on appeal.
Woodworths attorneys sought the removal of the attorney generals office in the pending litigation because of what they argued was a pattern of violating court rules pertaining to sharing evidence with the defense.
Whatever happens in this case, we do not want to see any future decision attacked for appearances of impropriety by the prosecution, the Robertson family said in its letter to Warren.
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