Judge in Akron disputes bias claims by prosecutors

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A judge in Akron disputes claims from prosecutors that she was biased in a death penalty murder case and says she shouldn't be disqualified from presiding at trial.

Summit County Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands filed a response with the Ohio Supreme Court on Friday to counter prosecutors' claims that she wants them to drop death penalty specifications in the aggravated murder trial of an Akron man who faces multiple counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping in the drug-related shooting deaths of four people.

Rowlands' motion denies that she had any improper conversations with victims' families; that she ruled correctly when she denied a prosecutor's attempt to strike a juror from the panel; and that her conversation with the defendant about his plea options came at his attorney's request.

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