LINCOLN COUNTY • The judge who presided over the murder trial of a Lincoln County man convicted of killing his wife has recused herself from hearing a motion for a new trial in the case.
Circuit Court Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer filed a motion Monday that said after reviewing Russell Faria's request for a new trial, she has "a known conflict and must recuse" and requested a transfer to another judge.
The nature of the conflict is unclear, and Mennemeyer declines to comment.
Faria won a step toward a new trial last month when an appeals court ruled that newly discovered evidence could produce a different verdict in a retrial.
The Missouri Court of Appeals in St. Louis sent the case back to the trial judge for a hearing on a retrial motion.
Defense lawyer Joel Schwartz filed a motion for a new trial on Wednesday.
Faria, 45, is serving a sentence of life without parole at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.
Questions about his conviction were the subject of a joint Post-Dispatch-KTVI Fox 2 investigation last year.
Prosecutors said Faria stabbed his terminally ill wife, Betsy Faria, 55 times with a serrated knife on Dec. 27, 2011.
But Faria, his lawyers and his alibi witnesses have long argued that he was miles away when his wife died — and that the killer was more likely someone else.