A St. Louis judge who said a police officer performed a series of “intentional” actions when he allegedly killed a female colleague during a game of Russian Roulette has recused himself from the case.
Circuit Judge David Roither stepped down on Friday following a motion from the lawyer for Officer Nathaniel Hendren, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of fellow St. Louis Officer Katlyn Alix.
The motion had suggested that the judge’s comments at a previous hearing suggested a bias against Hendren. Roither said as a hunter he knows you “don’t point a muzzle at anything you don’t intend to shoot.”
Hendren and partner Patrick Riordan were in Alix’s apartment on Jan. 24 when the fatal incident took place. It is believed that Hendren emptied all the bullets from the chamber and replaced one before spinning the cylinder.
He pulled the trigger first, and the gun did not go off. Nothing happened when Alix pulled the trigger, but she was fatally shot in the chest after she handed the gun back to Hendren.
Judge Roither said last month that he had trouble believing what happened was an accident.
“Unholstering the firearm – an intentional action. Loading it – intentional action. Reloading it – intentional action. Pointing it – intentional,” the judge said in court at the time, according to Fox 2 in St. Louis.
It is unclear which judge will take over the case. Once the case is ready for trial a different judge will be selected, according to KSDK.