Maurice Johnson's new judge ruled Friday that Johnson, the only person convicted in the 1999 Valentine's Day triple slaying in Cleveland, Tenn., also deserves new defense lawyers.

Special Judge Don Ash was named after Tennessee's Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last year that Criminal Court Judge Amy Reedy should be recused because her "impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

Ash, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., said the Bradley County public defender's office has a conflict in the case and that he would appoint new counsel for Johnson before the next scheduled hearing June 17.

"Not that you'd not do a good job," Ash told Public Defender Richard Hughes and Assistant Public Defender Leon Shahan as they flanked Johnson in court Friday.

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