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Judge sticks with child-murder case

STILWELL, Okla. (AP) -- A district judge says he will preside
over Michael Paul Drasher's murder case, despite arguments the
defense could call him as a witness.

District Judge John Garrett said Tuesday that he does not
believe his signing of an arrest warrant for Drasher is sufficient
reason for him to recuse himself from the case.

Drasher, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the July
1998 beating death of 8-year-old Jessica Dee Ann Price. Her body
was found in a wooded area five days after she was reported

Defense attorney Craig Corgan wanted Garrett to step aside
because he is challenging the constitutionality of Drasher's
arrest. Garrett signed the burglary warrant that led to the arrest
in Pennsylvania in July 1998.

Drasher was never charged on the burglary complaint.

Corgan argued that the judge might have information related to
statements made in the affidavit that prompted the arrest warrant.

But Garrett said such evidence could be found in court and law
enforcement records and from other witnesses who were present when
the warrant was issued.

"I think the issue of the warrant and the way it was presented
is lacking in justification for me to recuse at this time," the
judge said.

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