(WQOW) - Just days after News 18 reported on controversial comments made by the judge handling the case of a Rusk County man accused of murdering a sheriff's deputy, a new judge has been assigned to the case.
Doug Nitek was charged with shooting and killing Rusk County Deputy Dan Glaze in October 2016.
At the time of the murder, Nitek was facing earlier charges from a high-speed chase in Sawyer County. As News 18 reported, at a recent hearing Judge Eugene Harrington seemed to question if Glaze would be alive today had Sawyer County handled it's case faster.
Within hours of our inquiries about his comments, the chief judge for the 10th Judicial District, St. Croix County Judge Scott Needham removed Harrington from the murder case, without explanation.
Tuesday, Needham appointed himself to handle that case, along with the Sawyer County case.
No new court dates for Nitek have been set.
(WQOW) - Would a Rusk County deputy be alive today if an earlier criminal case against his alleged killer had been handled faster? That's what the judge who is presiding over the case of the accused killer seems to think.
Doug Nitek, from Conrath, is accused of shooting and killing Deputy Dan Glaze on Halloween weekend of 2016. Several months before that, Nitek was charged with a high-speed chase in Sawyer County.
In that case, Nitek made his initial appearance on Tuesday August 30, 2016. He waived his right to a speedy hearing, and was ordered to return to court a little over two months later, on November 8, 2016. That turned out to be 11 days after Glaze was killed.
Now, the judge handling the murder case appears to question whether the Sawyer County case was delayed too long. At a recent hearing, Washburn County Judge Eugene Harrington said, "For a lot of reasons, the procedural posture and the court process of Sawyer County are very disturbing to me. The disturbing part is if, everything is contingent upon the largest little word in the English language of if, Sawyer County had been processed timely, perhaps there is no Rusk County case whatsoever."
News 18's Keith Edwards spoke with Sawyer County District Attorney Bruce Poquette. He does not comment on open cases, but he did direct News 18 to the court calendar, which indicates on Tuesdays, the judge and district attorney typically handle about 150 cases a day. The county has only one judge, and two prosecutors.
Judge Harrington's office told News 18 Friday he won't comment on open cases. However, in response to our inquiries, News 18 was told the 10th Judicial District would issue a statement. And within the past hour we received word the chief judge for the district is taking Judge Harrington off the case, and will assign a new judge.
Nitek will be back in court on the murder charge in two weeks.
Below: Transcript-State of Wis. vs. Doug Nitek (Sawyer County 16 CF 139)