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Ohio judge recuses herself from new murder trial of former police officer

Former University of Cincinnati police office Ray Tensing is seen in an undated booking photo from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in Ohio. Hamilton County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - A new judge will hear the second murder trial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who killed a black motorist during a traffic stop last year after the original judge recused herself from the case on Monday.

Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan said in court that she would not hear the retrial of former officer Ray Tensing, 27, who shot Samuel DuBose, 43, in the head during a traffic stop after pulling over DuBose for a missing front license plate on his vehicle in July 2015.

“It’s this court’s opinion that the retrial should be conducted with that blank slate on all matters surrounding evidence and procedure,” Shanahan told an Ohio court on Monday.

“I find that this court is otherwise disqualified to preside over the retrial of the State versus Raymond Tensing.”

The case has now been assigned to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Tom Heekin.

The jury of six white men, four white women and two black women failed on Nov. 12 to reach a verdict on whether Tensing was guilty of charges of murder or voluntary manslaughter, prompting Shanahan to declare a mistrial.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said on Nov. 22 that he would retry Tensing. Deters said a change in venue was also necessary.

During the traffic stop Tensing asked DuBose to remove his seatbelt and tried to open the car door. DuBose did not comply and closed the door. The vehicle started rolling forward slowly as Tensing pulled his gun and fired once.

Tensing was fired from the University of Cincinnati Police Department after being indicted in July 2015. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $1 million bond.

Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Shumaker