By Jay Arrington
Texas – July 18, 2000
Center attorney Joe Bailey announced at a press conference Monday that a team of investigators, including Paul J. Ciolino of the Innocence Project out of Chicago, will be re-investigating a 1997 triple homicide in East Center.
Early last week, the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler granted Rodney Moore a new trial for his alleged part in the shooting.
Moore was the first of four defendants to stand trial for the crimes. He was originally convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
The court’s ruling came after it decided the state withheld videotaped accounts of witnesses from the defense.
Bailey, who represented Moore in the first trial and has represented him through the appellate process, contacted the group of investigators.
According to Ciolino, the group of pro bono investigators will be going over the case from the beginning and looking into an alternate theory that says the murders were an assassination because one of the victims owed a drug dealer a great sum of money.
“The tapes the state did not turn over exonerate our clients,” Ciolino said. “This case is going to be a national issue and will receive national media attention.”
The Chicago-based investigator said his reason for involvement in this case comes from his belief that Moore is innocent, and because he feels Bailey and his wife Judy are the victims of a conspiracy. The Baileys were indicted on charges of illegal voting and Mr. Bailey was also indicted on one charge of jury tampering. Ciolino claims the conspiracy was levied against them because they raised questions about the validity of the case.
The burden of proof will lie on the Attorney General’s Office for the second trial. Currently, assistant attorney general Mac Cobb is reviewing the case for its next court date. A timeline for proceedings has not been defined yet. Currently, Moore remains jailed at the Tennessee Colony unit of the Texas Department of Corrections. Moore was convicted in August of 1998 for his alleged part in the shooting deaths of Percy Keith Moore, Brian Keith Brooks and Christy Calhoun. The trio was shot to death on the night of April 21, 1997. Rodney Moore was the first defendant to stand trial. The jury handed down the verdict after 90 minutes of deliberation.