Special judge gets Del. teen's case in deputy slaying

May 7, 2008 11:23:28 AM PDT
An eastern Kentucky judge has removed himself from hearing the murder case against a Delaware teenager charged in the death of a Bell County sheriff's deputy. Circuit Judge James L. Bowling Jr. said he could have presided impartially over the trial of 17-year-old David Poppiti of New Castle, Del., but stepped aside because he knew the victim.

A special judge will hear the case surrounding the traffic crash death of Deputy Sean Pursifull in January.

Authorities were chasing Poppiti and 16-year-old Eric Gerrin of Lincoln University, Pa., after they allegedly drove off without paying for gasoline in Harlan County.

Police said Pursifull had parked beside U.S. 119 to help stop them when the car driven by Poppiti veered off the road and struck the deputy's cruiser.

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com