The case of eight people charged with killing a Utah tourist in New York City has been assigned to a judge known as one of the tougher judges on violent crime, the New York Times has reported.

The newspaper says top state court officials bypassed prevailing rules Monday and assigned the murder and robbery case to Justice Edwin Torres of State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Torres was chosen by court officials instead of through the usual procedure in which judges' names are placed into a wheel and selected at random.The announcement of Torres' selection came Monday during the arraignment of the eight young men charged in the slaying of Brian Watkins, a 22-year-old tourist from Provo, Utah.