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Judges uphold murder conviction

May 25, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals found the evidence that a defendant committed murder was overwhelming, so any suppression of a witness’s testimony by the prosecution was no more than a harmless error.

In Anthony Dorelle-Moore v. State of Indiana, No. 45A04-1109-CR-482, Anthony Dorelle-Moore claimed the trial court erred in refusing to grant a continuance, mistrial or motion to correct error due to prosecutor misconduct. Dorelle-Moore was charged with the murder of Isaiah Claxton. Claxton came to Dorelle-Moore’s home to buy marijuana. Dorelle-Moore believed that Claxton and two other men robbed his home several hours earlier. While Claxton was at Dorelle-Moore’s home, Dorelle-Moore shot him nine times, killing Claxton.

At trial, it came to light that a gun stolen from the burglary of Dorelle-Moore’s home had been recovered when Willie Lee James was arrested. James allegedly claimed to have gotten the gun from Bernard Hamilton, a man Dorelle-Moore believed also robbed his home. Dorelle-Moore tried to get James to testify, but he claims that the prosecution spoke with James and overtly or implicitly threatened that if he testified for Dorelle-Moore, he would be arrested.

“Here, assuming that the prosecutor’s reference to a warrant for James’s arrest effectively discouraged his testimony, Dorelle-Moore did not identify materially favorable testimony to be obtained from James,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey.

Dorelle-Moore shot Clayton with an eyewitness present, and several others saw Dorelle-Moore with a gun just after the shooting. The evidence of his guilt was overwhelming, so the suppression of James’ testimony wasn’t more than a harmless error, the court ruled.

 

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