Unjolee Moore Says He Was Wrongfully Convicted Of 2010 Murder

Monday, August 13, 2018
Unjolee Moore with attorney Daniel Murphy
Unjolee Moore with attorney Daniel Murphy

A man convicted of a 2010 murder claimed Monday that he made a confession after being beaten by a detective and held for over 13 hours while handcuffed behind his back.

Unjolee Moore also said he had ineffective assistance of counsel.

His current lawyer, Daniel Murphy, said he was able to obtain a jail medical record showing he had lacerations around the hands and swelling at the left eye after the encounter with former Detective Michael Wenger and another officer.

Moore is asking Judge Don Poole to grant him a new trial.

Attorney Murphy said phone records show that Moore could not have been at the murder scene.

Prosecutor Cameron Williams noted that a female that Moore was with said he had a gun when he left driving her Nissan Maxima. He said a Maxima was seen at the British Woods Apartments where Bernard Hughes was killed and Timothy Westfield was left for dead. 

The group Concerned Citizens for Justice has taken up Moore's cause and issued this statement:

The family of Bernard Hughes and Timothy Westfield deserve justice. The prosecution and conviction of Unjolee Moore, resulting in a life sentence, was and is not justice. Convicted on four charges- Felony Murder, Attempted Especially Aggravated Robbery, Attempted Second Degree Murder, and Employing a Firearm During a Dangerous Felony- Moore was prosecuted and convicted without any DNA or other scientific and forensic evidence; without adequate legal defense; with conflicting eyewitness testimony, none of which placed him at the scene of the crime; and with police misconduct during the investigation.

Having already served nearly five years of a sentence where he will not be eligible for parole until 2069, Concerned Citizens for Justice (CCJ) supports his bid for a new trial. Moore appeared before Judge Poole in Hamilton County, TN Criminal Court on Thursday April 23, 2015 where his motion for a new trial was denied. The case now goes to the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals where his attorney will file an appeal.

On the night of June 29, 2010, an alleged attempted robbery took place at the former British Woods Apartment complex in Chattanooga that left Bernard Hughes dead and Timothy Westfield shot twice. Despite convictions in the case, we still say alleged because a handwritten letter from one of the accused, John Simpson, who has yet to stand trial, both admits guilt and says that the fateful night had nothing to do with a robbery. This is important, because the whole premise for prosecuting and convicting Unjolee Moore is that he was the mastermind and getaway driver for the alleged robbery.

In addition to the the questionable premise, there are several other important factors that should have factored into reasonable doubt of Moore’s involvement and guilt, detailed below. Not the least of which is the fact–confirmed through a sustained Internal Affairs investigation of misconduct and untruthfulness–that Chattanooga Police Lieutenant McPherson interfered in the case by ordering a cell phone belonging to the other person convicted in the case not be collected as evidence and then lied about having given the order. Lt. McPherson’s niece had been present the night of the incident and called Lt. McPherson before, during, and after the incident.

  • Several witness testimonies stating they did not see Mr. Moore at the scene of the crime.
  • No DNA or other scientific or forensic evidence linking Mr. Moore to the crime,   supported by Dr. Laura Boos’s TBI Report
  • Inconsistent eyewitness statements of key witness.
  • According to the police report there was no forced entry or items taken from either of the victims nor the apartment.
  • At the time of this crime, Mr. Moore was working two jobs, had reliable check stubs to prove such, and no outstanding bills or debt that would warrant the need for robbery.
  • Alibi and witness to testify to the alibi.
  • Possible phone records that will reflect that a call that came through Mr. Moore’s phone at the time of the crime would show that Mr. Moore’s phone was pinging from a different phone tower outside of the area where the incident occurred.
  • Handwritten confession letter from one of the perpetrators stating the events that took place the night of June 28, 2010.  A handwriting expert confirmed the letter was indeed written by the particular perpetrator. Handwriting expert attended trial to testify, but was never called to the stand.
  • Internal Affairs documented investigation sustaining that Police Misconduct and untruthfulness was found concerning an officer tampering with the investigation and evidence.
  • An alleged recorded confession was the only substantial evidence presented at trial and was not provided to Moore’s defense attorney until a few days before the trial. Mr. Moore maintains that the recording is not his voice and desires a voice analysis. Additionally, the equipment failed and batteries ran out during the recording of the alleged confession and the recording is incomplete.

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