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High court to reconsider Tipton case judge ruling

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

It's possible that Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson will preside over Daniel Wade Moore's capital murder trial in the 1999 stabbing death of Karen Tipton.

The state Supreme Court issued a notice this week stating that it would reconsider a petition that Moore's attorney Sherman Powell Jr. filed asking that Thompson remain in the case.

Earlier this month the Supreme Court denied Powell's petition, which asked it to set aside a ruling of the state Court of Criminal Appeals to remove Thompson from the case. The appellate court ruling was on a petition that Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska filed.

The notice from the Supreme Court this week stated only that Powell's petition "is placed on re-hearing." It did not give a reason the court decided to revisit the case.

A prosecutor said that's not unusual.

"The Supreme Court on occasion does rehear cases on its own initiative," said Assistant Attorney General Will Dill, who helped prosecute Moore.

Dill said the state is prepared to try the case.

"We look forward to trying this case and obtaining justice for Karen Tipton and her family," Dill said.

Attempts to reach Powell were unsuccessful.

When the appellate court granted Valeska’s petition, it stated that the prosecution had shown that it would present an appearance of impropriety for Thompson to stay on the case.

Valeska said in the petition the state could not get a fair trial and the judge made inappropriate comments about state evidence.

In an answer to Valeska’s petition, Thompson denied the prosecutor’s allegations.

A jury convicted Moore, 33, in November 2002 for the March 12, 1999, stabbing death of Tipton, 39.

The jury recommended life without parole, but Thompson sentenced him to death. Later, Thompson set aside the conviction and sentence to grant Moore a new trial.

In February 2005, Thompson dismissed the charges and freed Moore. The freedom lasted about four days. The appellate court ruled in favor of a petition Valeksa filed asking for a reversal of Thompson’s action. The judge said in his ruling freeing Moore that he would be placed in double jeopardy and could not get a fair trial. Also, Thompson stated that Valeska withheld evidence, including a 245-page FBI report, and accused the prosecutor of misconduct.

The appeals court ordered Thompson to reinstate the capital murder charges, but agreed with the judge that Moore should get a new trial.

Prior to appellate rulings, Thompson set Moore’s new trial for July 30.

Circuit Judge Steve Haddock was poised to try the case after the Supreme Court upheld Thompson’s removal by the lower court.

Haddock did not set a trial date and now, because of the Supreme Court notice of rehearing, it’s uncertain when it will be scheduled.

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