News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news

Judge refuses
to step aside

Thompson plans to
preside over Moore

By Sheryl Marsh 340-2437

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson says he will preside over the retrial of Daniel Wade Moore in the Karen Tipton capital murder case.

The judge also ruled that Moore will remain in jail until his trial, set for July 30.

Thompson issued a ruling Monday in response to a motion that Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska filed, asking the judge to recuse himself.

The judge did not give a reason for his ruling on Valeska's motion, which was filed Aug. 17.

Assistant Attorney General Will Dill, who helped Valeska prosecute Moore, said the state could appeal Thompson's ruling to the state Court of Criminal Appeals.

"We are considering our options," said Dill. "One that we have is to appeal the denial of our motion."

Valeska said in his motion that Thompson made comments about evidence that were inappropriate.

The prosecutor said comments Thompson made when dismissing capital charges against Moore in February 2005 indicate the state cannot get a fair trial.

He asked Thompson to get out of the case.

"This court has made numerous disparaging comments about the state's lead prosecutor and lead investigator," Valeska stated in the motion. "This court found as fact and stated in its order dismissing the case that the chief prosecutor, Don Valeska, and one of the key witnesses for the prosecution (Decatur police) officer Mike Pettey intentionally withheld information in this case and that the prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct."

Valeska's motion for recusal came shortly after the appellate court reversed Thompson's ruling and reinstated capital murder charges against Moore.

A jury convicted Moore, 32, of capital murder and recommended life without parole for his punishment in 2002. Thompson sentenced him to death but later overturned the conviction and sentence to grant a new trial.

The appeals court agreed with Thompson that Moore deserved a new trial but reversed a subsequent ruling by Thompson to free Moore.

Dill said he is confident that the second trial will result in conviction.

"We are looking forward to the re-trial of this case and we are extremely confident that when the second jury sees the DNA evidence in this case that we'll get the same verdict that we got in the first trial," said Dill.

The court petitions and rulings are part of an on-going legal web that started almost eight years ago when Tipton's body was found in her Chapel Hill home in Decatur.

Authorities developed Moore as a suspect after he told an uncle that he was present in the home March, 12, 1999, when a friend stabbed the 39-year-old housewife to death.

Moore recanted the statement, saying he made up the story because he feared going back to jail. At the time he faced a theft charge.

He remains in Morgan County Jail.

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