Judge in murder-for-hire case will not recuse himself

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The judge in a case for the man accused of hiring a hitman to kill his ex-girlfriend will not recuse himself.

George Parnham, the attorney for Leon Jacob, filed a motion for recusal after the judge made a comment about his client during a hearing on May 4.

Parnham was trying to convince the judge to grant his client bond and was making "representations of Mr. Jacob's character and his ties to the community."

The court motion said, "Counsel further went into detail referencing Mr. Jacob's mental state and emotional care toward the alleged victim in his case. It was during this exchange that the Honorable Judge Wallace retorted with the snarky comment, 'I mean, that's why you hire a hit man.'"

The motion went on to state, "Judge Wallace's comment was snide and in flagrant disregard to the defendant's fundamental protection of his presumed innocence. It further reveals Judge Wallace's own personal prejudice towards this case."

The defense plans to appeal the decision not to recuse.

Leon Jacob and Valerie McDaniel were facing charges for allegedly hiring an undercover police officer to kill both of their exes.

SEE ALSO: Bond denied, history revealed for murder-for-hire suspect

McDaniel was found dead in March after she apparently jumped off the 7th floor of a condo.

McDaniel ended her life and that will bring her case to a close once a death certificate is given to the court, which leaves Jacob to stand for trial for his alleged role in hiring a hitman.

According to charging records, the pair met the undercover officer -- posing as a hit man -- at an Olive Garden where they discussed plans for the killings and for further payments. McDaniel's ex-husband was allegedly supposed to be killed in a shooting that would be staged to look like a carjacking, according to Tom Berg, Harris County assistant district attorney.
Jacob is said to have loved McDaniel. His attorney asked the judge if he could be released from jail to attend McDaniel's funeral, but the judge refused.

SEE ALSO: Murder-for-hire suspect pens note before deadly leap off River Oaks high-rise

Houston police found notes inside McDaniel's River Oaks-area condo that detailed instructions concerning her final wishes, including sealed letters addressed to family members.

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