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Man charged with murder wants judge to recuse herself

Jerrod William Baum stands as Judge Christine Johnson enters her 4th District courtroom in Provo on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (Credit: Evan Cobb, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Lawyers for a man charged with killing a Utah couple and dumping their bodies want the presiding judge to recuse herself.

The Deseret News reports the attorneys allege Judge Christine Johnson has shown bias and coordinated with prosecutors to obtain testimony from Jerrod William Baum’s girlfriend that could be used against him.

Records show Johnson has not filed a response, but a prosecutor Tuesday denied there was any coordination.

Defense attorney Dustin Parmley alleges Johnson, in order to give Morgan Reannon Henderson incentive to testify in Baum’s trial, agreed to allow her to walk free after Baum’s case.

Henderson admitted lying to authorities after she saw Baum drive 18-year-old Riley Powell and 17-year-old Brelynne Otteson to an abandoned mine, where police say he slit their throats and discarded their bodies Dec. 30, 2017.

Parmley did not immediately respond to messages left Tuesday.

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