New judge in place for trial in North Naples murders

Published: Updated:
Judge Christine Greider

NAPLES, Fla. A new judge has been assigned to a high-profile murder case just days before it’s scheduled to go to trial.

Judge Frederick Hardt granted a motion Friday to recuse himself from the trial of Mesac Damas, who’s accused of killing his wife and five children by slitting their throats in 2009 at their North Naples home.

That clears the way for the trial eight years in the making to start as scheduled Tuesday.

Christine Greider will be Hardt’s replacement, said James Ermacora, the attorney for Damas who filed the motion. Greider will be the fourth judge to oversee the case.

Damas has made several outbursts in court before, but Ermacora doesn’t expect him to misbehave during trial.

“He’s been in the jail a long time now, over eight years, maybe he’s mellowed. Maybe he’s just had enough of it all and the outbursts don’t really serve a purpose,” Ermacora said.

Greider will attempt to speak with Damas before Tuesday’s trial, Ermacora said. It’s unclear what will be covered during their conversation.

The trial is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

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