O'Hara to preside over shooting trial

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Chief District Judge Michael O'Hara will preside over the trial of a teenager charged with the shooting death of James Pogline, though the judge has a history defending Pogline.

Neither side expressed objections in a hearing Monday.

After being asked repeatedly by District Judge Paul McLimans whether he felt that O'Hara posed a conflict of interest in his trial, the 17-year-old Mexican national, Hugo Silva-Larios, who is the main suspect in the case, said, "I understand. I understand. I want him to be the judge."

Silva-Larios speaks in court through the help of an interpreter.

Wednesday's hearing was held to determine whether either side had objections to O'Hara presiding over a trial slated to start in July. O'Hara will replace McLimans in Moffat County District court in April. But, O'Hara previously has served as alternate defense counsel for James Pogline and has worked for the law firm of Silva-Larios' lawyer, Kris Hammond.

As a result of the agreements made in court Monday, both sides waived conflicts of interest objections, thereby locking O'Hara into presiding over the trial.

Pogline suffered a gunshot wound to the head Oct. 22 at Timberglen apartments and died the next day.

Hammond has said in court that he expects to file lengthy motions in preparation for the trial. The two-day hearing is sceduled to begin May 9.

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