A retired 72-year-old judge who has handled 22 death penalty trials -- including one involving the slaying of former Black Panther Huey Newton (search) -- was selected Tuesday to preside at Scott Peterson's (search) murder trial.

Alfred A. Delucchi (search) was picked by California's chief justice a week after another judge was removed at prosecutors' request.

Delucchi retired in 1998 after serving in Alameda County for 15 years. He presided over the case of Tyrone Robinson, who was convicted of murdering Newton during a drug deal gone bad in 1989.

Peterson, 31, could get the death penalty if convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son. Her remains and those of the fetus washed ashore last April, two miles from where her husband said he was fishing on Christmas Eve 2002 when she vanished.

Under California rules, the defense and prosecution can each remove one judge without having to give a reason. Peterson's defense team has a challenge left.

Peterson attorney Mark Geragos did not immediately return telephone calls.

Delucchi's clerk said the judge was unavailable for comment.