Judge refuses recusal in MTSU stabbing death trial - WSMV News 4

Judge refuses recusal in MTSU stabbing death trial

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Can the woman who is accused of killing a Middle Tennessee State University basketball player get a fair trial in Rutherford County?

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Shanterrica Madden is accused of killing Tina Stewart, a guard on the woman's team, earlier this year.

The defense filed two motions Wednesday, asking for a change of venue and for Judge Don Ash to recuse himself.

Ash refused to recuse himself from the case, stating there was no "basis of fact" in the accusations and that recusing himself would destroy the public's trust in the court system.

The judge's Facebook page was at the center of discussion for about 45 minutes Wednesday. 

The possibility that Ash is friends with Rick Insell, the coach of MTSU's women's basketball team, is also a point of contention.

The judge called the motion an attack on his integrity during the hearing.

Defense lawyer, Joe Brandon claims that Ash has many ties to MTSU and its athletic program.

"It's the appearance of impropriety," said Brandon. "We just want a fair and impartial trial, and that's all."

Ash graduated from the school in 1977 and has made financial contributions for 20 years.

The attorney wants the case moved out of Rutherford County because of media coverage. A change of venue motion will be discussed at a later date.

Madden was scheduled to go on trial at the end of January, but it has been moved to May.

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