Senior 1st District Judge Venoy Christoffersen has been disqualified from trying the first-degree murder case of Steven Ray James, who is charged with the slaying of his infant son.
In a written ruling, 2nd District Judge David Roth cited the fact that Christoffersen's executive secretary will be a prosecution witness in the upcoming trial as reason for the disqualification.James has been in the Cache County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail since Oct. 23, 1986, the day he was arrested in the death of his 3-month-old son Steven Roy James.
He had reported his child kidnapped from his car while he went into a store Aug. 26, 1986. A nationwide search was being conducted by volunteers when the baby's body was found Oct. 11, 1986, in the Bear River marshes west of Logan.
Christoffersen, who has been on senior judge status since his retirement on Dec. 31, earlier denied a defense motion for a change of venue because of publicity surrounding the case.
Last month, the Utah Supreme Court overturned Christoffersen's decision, ruling that the trial should be held outside Cache County.