Sixth District Judge William Woodland will not disqualify himself from the first-degree murder case of a man charged with a rest stop slaying near the Utah-Idaho border.
After a hearing in Pocatello on Wednesday, Woodland rejected a request from public defender Patricia McDermott that he withdraw from the murder case of James Louis Holland, 48.Trial is scheduled to open at Malad Feb. 7, although there are a number of pretrial motions pending, including a request to change the trial location.
Because the legal proceeding has gone so far, Woodland said cause must be shown why he should withdraw from the case, and no cause was shown at Wednesday's hearing.
Holland is charged with the July 4, 1987, slaying of Karl Behn, 24, Highland Heights, Fla., at the Juniper Interstate 84 rest stop in Oneida County near the state line.
Earlier, he pleaded guilty to a similar Utah charge and received a death sentence, but that case is on appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.
Holland pleaded guilty in Idaho, but during a sentencing hearing, Woodland said he would not accept a plea-bargain agreement under which Holland would be spared a possible death penalty in Idaho. The Idaho Supreme Court is considering legal action which could force Woodland to accept the plea-bargain agreement.
Woodland ordered a preliminary hearing last month, after which Holland was sent to district court to face the charge.