A mistrial was declared Tuesday afternoon in the Dominique Greer felony murder trial after his co-defendant made several unsolicited comments before the jury.
Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern halted the trial not long after it had begun when Franklin Wood Jr. made several comments pertaining to Greer’s reputation that were not answers to any questions asked, including claiming twice that Greer sold marijuana.
The defense objected both times, as this was not a charge with any evidence, and Wood was warned by the judge. A few minutes later, Wood made the allegation that Greer “had a reputation for home invasions.”
After this, Judge Stern decided that Greer could no longer be given a fair trial and the jury was dismissed.
A new trial date has not been set.
Both Greer and Wood were 17 at the time of the July 21, 2010, slaying of 21-year-old Darrian Moore on Shady Hollow Lane in Harrison. Wood reached an agreement to testify for the state.
Angela Moore, the victim's mother, said she knew that something was wrong when she answered a phone call from her son and the only words he said were “Mama…Mama…” She had no idea that these would be the last words she would ever hear him say.
She rushed downstairs to tell her husband Charles, and, soon after, they discovered their son in their driveway in the passenger seat of his own car, slouched over with a gunshot wound to the head. He was still alive. However, in spite of Mr. Moore rushing his youngest son to the emergency room, Darrian Moore died at Erlanger Hospital.
Angela Moore, the first witness, told the jury that her son was a student at Chattanooga State Community College and that he was working at FedEx at the time of his death. She said of his phone call, "I tried to call back and he never answered.” She continued to call. When she learned that Darrian’s car was in the driveway, “I just kept saying ‘Something’s wrong, something’s wrong.’”
Charles Moore, a TVA employee, took the stand next. On July 21 of 2010, the day of the murder, Mr. Moore was in the sun room of their home. He heard his son pull into the driveway. He said that Darrian usually stayed in his car to talk on the phone, so Mr. Moore was not worried when Darrian did not come in the house right away. A few minutes later, the father heard a “pop” sound, but he thought his son had just thrown something in the dumpster. He said he was not concerned until his wife ran downstairs to find him.
When asked about Wood, the witness replied “Darrian thought they were friends.” However, he also told the jury that Darrian and Wood had had a “falling out” followed by a physical altercation shortly before the week of the murder. Charles Moore said he had never met Dominique Greer.
Wood, known as “J” to his friends, described his “falling out” with Darrian Moore, saying it started when they were driving together and were pulled over by a police officer. He said the officer sent them both home when he found marijuana residue. Wood said “I felt like (Darrian) was putting all the blame in the incident on me.”
Wood claimed he was not a part of any plan to rob Darrian Moore and that it was more of a conversation than a plan. He said “It was a conversation between (Dwight Turner) and Dominique.” He claimed that they wanted the guns owned by Darrian’s father.
Defense attorney Dan Ripper in an opening statement had told the jury that the state has no direct proof that Greer was the gunman who fatally shot the victim at his home near Chickamauga Lake.
But prosecutor Kristen Spires said Greer planned the robbery along with two other youths, who will testify against him. She said one was Wood.
Prosecutor Spires said the robbery had been planned several days before by Greer, Wood and another youth. She said Darrian Moore was chosen because he had a job and money in a bank account. "He was the perfect victim," she said.
She said Wood lives behind the Moore home. She said the state would present proof about Greer heading to the Moore house and about talk of disposing of the weapon.
Attorney Ripper said the victim was in the passenger side of his vehicle when his father found him. He said fingerprints were lifted from the driver's side window. He said they did not match either the victim or Greer.
He said the state has no fingerprint or DNA proof against his client.
The state was also set to present proof that Greer carried out another robbery the same day as the Moore slaying. Judge Stern ruled earlier that evidence would be allowed.
After their arrest, it was decided after a lengthy hearing that Greer and Wood would be tried as adults.