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Haddock set to
try murder case

Court waiting on appeal of Thompson's removal; Moore
retrial on July 30

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

If an appellate ruling to remove Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson from the Karen Tipton murder case stands, Judge Steve Haddock will preside over Daniel Wade Moore's second trial.

The state Court of Criminal Appeals granted a petition last month that Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska filed asking for Thompson's removal. The court agreed there would be an appearance of impropriety if he remained.

Moore's attorney Sherman Powell Jr. has appealed the appellate court ruling to the state Supreme Court. Powell said the appeal will not halt the trial, which is set for July 30.

Haddock declined to comment on the trial date, but explained that capital murder cases rotate between him and the other two circuit judges, and it's his turn to try one.

"We rotate the assignment of them because they are time-consuming and very involved," said Haddock. "I am the next one scheduled to take a case that involves capital murder. If the order stays as it is from the Court of Criminal Appeals, then I will try the case."

The case has multiple motions pending on which Thompson did not rule.

A motion Powell filed in 2003 asked the judge to impose sanctions against Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

The motion accused Valeska of concealing a 245-page FBI report that contained information relevant to the case.

Haddock said he would handle all pre-trial motions and anything to do with the case.

The eight-year-old case has been through a cycle of court filings, rulings and appeals. The latest appeal is Powell's to the Supreme Court.

The appellate court ruling stated that Valeska had been successful in showing that it would present "an appearance of impropriety" for Thompson to stay in the case.

Valeska's petition that the higher court granted stated that Thompson had made negative comments about state evidence in the case and he didn't believe the state could get a fair trial.

Thompson said he never commented negatively about the state's case.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Powell said Valeska should be removed from the case, not Thompson.

A jury convicted Moore, 33, of capital murder in 2002 and recommended life without parole. Thompson sentenced him to death, but later overturned the conviction and sentence to grant Moore a new trial.

Then, in February 2005 Thompson granted a defense motion to dismiss the charges and free Moore.

Freedom lasted four days.

Valeska appealed the ruling and the appellate court ordered Thompson to reinstate the charges. The appellate court upheld the judge's decision to give Moore a new trial.

Authorities allege that Moore went to Tipton's home in Southwest Decatur and stabbed her to death. Police developed him as a suspect after he told his uncle that he was in the home when his friend killed Tipton, 39.

He recanted the story, saying he told his uncle that because he feared going back to jail.

Moore had been in jail for theft prior to his arrest in Tipton's murder.

He remains in the County Jail awaiting a second trial.

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