The judge who presided at the murder trial of Shannon Atwood in Skowhegan will not impose a sentence. Justice Nancy Mills found Atwood guilty this summer in the bludgeoning death of his 38-year-old girlfriend, Cheryl Murdoch.
Atwood’s lawyer claimed Mills’ verdict was tainted because the judge knew a woman Atwood had been convicted of assaulting years earlier.
In a filing this week, Mills says that creates a circumstance that could call the court’s impartiality into question, so she recused herself from the sentencing phase.
How long Atwood will be sent to prison will now be up to another judge to decide.