Judge recuses himself in case involving teen charged in adult court

A teen accused of two felony intimidation charges involving threatening to kill another individual will remain in jail after a judge recused himself for a conflict of interest in the case.

Tyler L. Howard, 16, 2615 Lafayette Ave., had sought a bond reduction before Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton, but the hearing was postponed Tuesday after public defender David Nowak said he had learned about a possible distant family connection between Howard’s family and the judge.

Howard’s stepfather is a distant relative to Worton, and after being informed of the connection, Worton recused himself and sent Howard’s case to Bartholomew Circuit Court before Judge Kelly Benjamin. Howard was sent back to the Bartholomew County Jail where he is being held in lieu of $35,000 bond, and is also held by request of a Jackson County court.

Howard is being tried in adult court in Bartholomew County because he was previously waived to adult court in Jackson County, according to the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s office.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.