Judge removes self from woman's murder case

GRETNA, La. (AP) - The state judge who ordered a new trial for a woman accused of drowning her newborn daughter has stepped away from the case.

The Times-Picayune reports state District Judge Robert Pitre voluntarily recused himself from the case of 24-year-old Ciara Craig after her attorneys waived her right to a jury trial, which meant he would preside. Pitre says the appellate court required him to explain why he tossed Craig's conviction and in doing so he provided an "expression of opinion on evidence." As a result, he felt he had to step down.

Craig awaits retrial on a charge of second-degree murder in the 2009 incident in which she gave birth and then placed the newborn in Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner.

The case has been transferred to Judge Henry Sullivan.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)