Judge Jeth Jones, who was accused of conflict of interest, taken off of Santa Fe HS shooting case

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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Judge in Santa Fe school shooting case being replaced
Judge Jeth Jones, whom Dimitious Pagourtzis' defense team accused of a conflict of interest, is being taken off the case.

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The trial for the suspect in the Santa Fe High School shooting is getting a new judge.

The case is moving from Judge Jeth Jones' courtroom to one presided by Judge Lonnie Cox, documents revealed on Monday.

The move comes after concerns Jones has a conflict of interest in the case.

Back in March, ABC13's partners at the Houston Chronicle reported that suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis' defense team accused the justice of trying to hire someone who will rule their client competent to stand trial.

That claim came after Pagourtzis was re-committed to a mental health facility for up to an additional year and later ordered to undergo a new evaluation.

A defense motion was filed on April 20 and granted on Monday.

Pagourtzis is accused of killing 10 people and injuring 13 others at the school five years ago.

How the change impacts whether the case is heard by a jury anytime soon remains to be seen, but victims' families expressed frustration over repeated delays last month.

"Our office is disappointed to lose Judge Jones, but we believe that Judge Cox will handle the case fairly and efficiently," Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady said in a statement.