San Diego

The murder trial of former California Highway Patrol Officer Craig Peyer was assigned Thursday to the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Richard Huffman.

Judge J. Richard Haden, supervising judge of the Superior Court's criminal division, said Huffman will preside over all aspects of the case, including the hearing of any pretrial motions.

Peyer, who was fired by the CHP last month, is scheduled to go on trial Sept. 14 in the strangulation last December of Cara Knott, 20, of El Cajon. He is free on $1 million bond.

After the courtroom assignment, prosecutor Joe van Orshoven and defense attorney Robert Grimes met with Huffman to discuss the timing of possible motions in the case.

Knott, who was a student at San Diego State University, was found strangled in a remote creek bed near the Mercy Road exit off Interstate 15 in northern San Diego. Authorities said she had been strangled and her body was thrown off a 65-foot-high bridge.

In another action, Haden vacated a temporary restraining order preventing CHP officials from talking about the evidence against Peyer.

"They already said everything, so there was no reason to keep the order," Grimes said.

In the CHP's public notice of Peyer's dismissal, the agency said it was firing Peyer because he strangled Knott and violated certain CHP procedures.

Peyer is appealing his termination.

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