COLLEGE SHOOTING Judge showed bias, prosecutors tell court
The victim attended Calvary Christian Academy and graduated from YSU.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Prosecutors contend the judge hearing the case of a man accused of a shooting rampage at Case Western Reserve University last year that resulted in the death of a Youngstown native is biased against them and have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to remove her.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and his aides filed a statement with the court Wednesday against Judge Judith Kilbane Koch of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
She is handling the case of Biswanath Halder, 64, a former student who was scheduled to go on trial next month.
Halder is accused of killing Norman E. Wallace and injuring two others during a seven-hour standoff in May 2003 in which nearly 100 people hid in offices, classrooms and closets at Case's Peter B. Lewis Building. The standoff ended when police cornered Halder and shot him.
About the victim
Wallace, 30, a 1991 graduate of Calvary Christian Academy, was killed when Halder opened fire. Wallace was working toward a master's degree in business administration and living in Cleveland after graduating with a degree in finance in 1997 from Youngstown State University.
He was reared by Bishop Norman L. Wagner, pastor of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church, and the bishop's wife, Rita Helen (Wallace) Wagner.
Koch has to decide whether Halder is competent to understand the charges and assist in his defense before the trial starts.
Mason has contended Koch repeatedly referred to Halder as "crazy" and made negative comments about a psychiatrist who found him competent.
"The issue of mental competency is the critical issue in this case," Mason wrote in a statement for the Supreme Court. "This predisposition has thereby compromised any fair and impartial litigation before her."
Koch could not be reached Wednesday to comment. Public Defender Robert Tobik said defense lawyers had not seen Mason's request and had no comment.
If Koch finds Halder is incompetent, he could not be tried until a treatment team says he has been "restored."
His trial was scheduled to begin Sept. 13, but it has been delayed.
Koch has seven days to respond to Mason's request. Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer will then decide what to do.