- Associated Press - Thursday, December 14, 2017

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - A judge has recused a western Idaho prosecutor from an upcoming murder trial due to an apparent conflict, noting the lawyer could be called to testify in the case.

Kirk MacGregor, an Idaho County attorney, was removed last month from prosecuting Mark Lankford, who will be tried a third time on murder charges, the Lewiston Tribune reported .

Lankford was issued a new trial after the Idaho Supreme Court discovered MacGregor had offered an incarcerated witness a deal to reduce his sentence in exchange for testimony against Lankford. MacGregor did not disclose the full details of that agreement, according to the court.

In granting the defense’s motion of recusal, Judge Jay Gaskill pointed to the finding of the state’s highest court as cause for removing MacGregor. The judge noted that the attorney would likely be called as a witness, which would violate the advocate-witness rule if he continued prosecuting.

MacGregor did not return the newspaper’s call seeking comment.

Lankford was first convicted in 1984 of killing a couple from El Paso, Texas. Robert Bravence and Cheryl Bravence were on a camping trip in Idaho when they encountered Lankford and his brother. Authorities said the brothers bludgeoned the couple to death and dumped their bodies in a rural area.

Lankford won an appeal in 2007, but was convicted again after the second trial.

The third trial was scheduled for early January, but it has been postponed. The new trial will be held in a different location that has not been determined yet.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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