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Convicted Killer Seeks New Trial After Judge is Accused of Heroin Use

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Booking photo of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook of Belleville.

Booking photo of former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook of Belleville.

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A convicted killer will make his case for a new trial he says he deserves because the presiding judge faces federal heroin charges and may have been impaired during the trial.

Jurors found 55-year-old Gregory Muse guilty in March of first-degree murder, after a trial overseen by then-St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook.

Cook was arrested two months later on charges of possessing heroin and a having a gun while on controlled substances. He has resigned and pleaded not guilty.

Muse faces sentencing Wednesday. But he’s asked for a new trial, alleging Cook appeared to slur his words during the trial.

Cook’s attorney isn’t discussing that.

Questions about Cook already have prompted another judge to grant a new murder trial for another man convicted during proceedings overseen by Cook.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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