Judge's removal requested in NE Ohio murder case

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors in Akron have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to remove the judge slated to preside over the aggravated murder trial of a man charged in the drug-related slayings of four people.

Summit County prosecutors say Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands improperly asked prosecutors to drop death penalty specifications in Deshanon Haywood's trial. They didn't do so.

Prosecutors wrote in their motion that Rowlands wanted to spare the expense of a lengthy death penalty trial. Prosecutors argue Rowlands' request breaches judicial canons.

Rowlands declined to comment. Her office issued a statement that says she will file a response with the Supreme Court.

Haywood pleaded not guilty on multiple charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping after four people were shot in the head. Police say the slayings were heroin-related.

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