ATHENS – (WAOK/AJC) A court has ruled that judge Lawton Stephens must step down in the case against accused cop killer Jamie Hood. Judge David Sweat whose been presiding over the case, since Stephens stepped aside, until a decision was made, ruled Friday to take Stephens off the case. Hood’s attorney Newell Hamilton argued it would have been difficult for Stephens to be impartial because he knew Athens Clarke county officer Elmer ‘Buddy” Christian who was killed, and attended his funeral. Newell said Stephens also visited officer Tony Howard in the hospital who was wounded during the shooting nearly two years ago. Now the court will have to decide who will replace Stephens,, so the case can proceed.