The judge handling the case against a prison inmate accused of killing a corrections officer has agreed to step aside from the matter.

During a hearing Friday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court involving Curtis Allgier, his defense team filed a motion to have Judge Deno Himonas step down.

"While there is no actual bias here, and while I seriously question whether the motion raises even the possible appearance of bias, I see no reason to create an issue where one need not exist," the judge said.

The court's presiding judge reassigned the case to Judge Robin Reese. In 3rd District Court, a judge typically handles a case up until a preliminary hearing is held. If a defendant is bound over for trial, another judge handles the case.

Allgier, 29, is charged with aggravated murder, escape, robbery, attempted murder and possession of a dangerous weapon. Salt Lake County prosecutors have said that they will seek the death penalty against him if he is convicted.

Allgier is accused of killing corrections officer Stephen Anderson, 60, last year during an escape from a University Hospital clinic. Police said he carjacked an SUV, then led officers on a chase across the Salt Lake Valley before he was arrested at a fast-food restaurant in Glendale.