Khankhanian pleads not guilty to murder; judge recuses self

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Sina Khankhanian, 27, plead not guilty Friday in court to the charge of second-degree murder of 13-year-old Emily Shane on April 3 2010 when Khankhanian drove his car off Pacific Coast Highway, hitting Shane.

Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn, Jr. was originally scheduled to hear the arraignment at the Airport Courthouse in Los Angeles, but recused himself from the case due to personal connections with the Shane family. The case was reassigned to Judge Stephanie Sautner, who set a pretrial hearing for March 8.

Khankhanian is accused of second-degree murder for displaying “malice aforethought” and using a deadly weapon, the automobile that struck Shane. If convicted, he faces a possible maximum penalty of life without parole.

—By Knowles Adkisson