An eighth judge has recused himself from presiding over the trial of a white Alabama police officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed Black man. 

According to, Judge Sam Welch was named the latest judge on April 12. This week, however, Welch stepped down from the role. Shortly after Welch's resignation, the Alabama Supreme Court called on retired Dale County Circuit Judge Philip Ben McLauchlin to oversee the case.

Greg Gunn was walking home from a neighborhood card game when Officer Aaron Cody Smith stopped him to administer a random stop-and-frisk. As Smith was patting Gunn down, the 58-year-old took off, prompting the deputy to chase, Tase and pummel the suspect. Smith then fired five shots at Gunn, killing him. Within days of the ambush, Smith was indicted on murder charges. The officer justified the shooting by saying he was acting in self-defense.

Gunn's death garnered protests from Montgomery residents; however, The Montgomery Advertiser adds much of the outcry subsided after Smith was promptly detained. The officer's legal team worked to conduct Smith's trial out of Montgomery County and in another district. Per The Advertiser, it appears they won that battle. 

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Reasons some of the previous six candidates opted not to oversee the trial include "personal conflicts" and impropriety.

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