The Alabama Supreme Court has appointed a new judge to oversee the trial of a Montgomery police officer accused of murder in the shooting of an unarmed black man. The court last week named retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Samuel Henry Welch to preside in the case. Aaron Cody Smith is awaiting trial in the fatal shooting of 58-year-old Greg Gunn nearly three years ago. Smith contends he fired in self-defense after Gunn fought with him.
The Supreme Court granted Smith's request for a new judge in the case because of possible bias. The original judge, Circuit Judge Greg Griffin, had criticized Smith's credibility during a hearing. Griffin also posted on social media about his experience as a black man being stopped by police while walking. Judge Welch is expected to choose the new venue for the trial.