A local circuit court judge recused himself from a manslaughter case due to a potential conflict of interest in the case.

On July 30, Houston County Judge Todd Derrick filed an order stating he had recently learned that his son is a friend/acquaintance of Fisher Corbin Shipes’ older brother. Derrick said he was disclosing the information to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Following Derrick’s recusal, presiding Circuit Judge Larry Anderson assigned the case to Circuit Judge Kevin Moulton. Shipes’ trial is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Shipes, 20, of Dothan, was arrested May 21, 2018, in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Christian Mullins, and is currently free on bond.

A Houston County grand jury indicted Shipes late last year, after which his attorney filed an application for youthful offender in November, which Derrick denied.

Police responded shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2018, to a report of a firearm assault in the 2100 block of Baker Trace and found Mullins with a shotgun wound. It was first reported that Mullins was shot by an unknown assailant with a shotgun. According to police, Shipes fired a shotgun at Mullins from across the room, striking the victim in the abdomen. Police have determined alcohol was involved.

“Several of the teenagers were looking at the gun, but everyone decided to leave the area but Fisher,” Dothan Police Investigator Curtis Stephens said. “Fisher went back to the area where the other teenagers were located carrying the firearm.”

Stephens said Shipes believed he had properly unloaded the shotgun, but he was not familiar with that type of shotgun, and the gun was not unloaded. Fisher fired the shotgun from across the room.

Mullins was transported by ambulance to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center, where he later died.

According to the Code of Alabama Section 13A-6-3, a person commits the crime of manslaughter if he “recklessly caused the death of another person” or “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he or she recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death except that he caused the death to sudden heat of passion caused by provocation and before a reasonable time for the passion to cool.” The Class B felony carries a possible prison sentence of two to 20 years.

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Follow Michele Forehand on Twitter @micheleforehan1

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