Lawyers for police officer Jeronimo Yanez, accused of manslaughter in the July shooting death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., asked for a change of judges in Yanez's trial. Yanez allegedly shot Castile to death during a traffic stop. Photo courtesy of the Ramsey county, Minn., Jail.
ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Attorneys representing a Minnesota police officer accused of manslaughter in the July death of Philando Castile said they seek a new judge in the case.
Jeronimo Yanez's defense team filed a motion Thursday requesting the removal of Ramsey County District Judge Edward Wilson from the case, court records said. Wilson, the county's second-most senior judge, was assigned to the case Monday.
The rules of criminal procedure allow the plaintiffs and the defendants to each remove one available judge from consideration, without identifying a reason; such requests are granted automatically.
"We did our research, and based on our research, we chose to remove him [Wilson]," Earl Gray, one of Yanez's three lawyers, said.
Yanez, 28, is a four-year veteran of the police force of St. Anthony, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He was charged with felony manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm during a July traffic stop in Falcon Heights in which Castile, 32, was shot and killed. Castile was licensed to carry a handgun, and reportedly told Yanez he was carrying a weapon.
The incident provoked protests, and national attention after a witness, Castile's girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, live streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.