Defense attorney will challenge Mooney confession

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The attorney for an Ironton man accused of killing his grandmother said he will ask a judge next week for permission to hire an expert to evaluate the statement his client made to police at the time of his arrest.

Warren Morford claims his client, Jason Mooney, suffers from attention deficit disorder. Such a problem could have allowed Mooney to be “vulnerable to suggestibility” and therefore more easily swayed to confess to the crime “because he saw that was the only way to get out of that room,” Morford said. “It probably played a role in why he said what he said what they wanted to hear.”

He wants the court to allow Dr. Solomon Fulero, a licensed psychologist from Dayton, to examine Mooney and then allow that evaluation to be admitted as evidence should Mooney go to trial.

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Morford had earlier indicated he would ask to have the statement suppressed altogether. He said Wednesday he would request to hire the expert instead.

Morford said the statement is important because it is so far the only thing linking his client to the crime. He said preliminary results of forensics tests have not indicated Jason Mooney was involved in the murder of Thelma Mooney on Feb. 18.

“There is no blood evidence on the glove (found at the scene) and there is nothing on the knife to tie him to being the one that held the knife when she was killed. There is no evidence that he was the one wearing the Nike shoe prints found in the snow in back of her house,” Morford said.

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., said the statement Jason Mooney made to police is vital to the case.

“We don’t want to convict someone of a crime they are not guilty of,” Collier said. “And the confession is extremely damning. He confessed to the brutal murder of his grandmother and the defense has to address that. He’s talking about hiring an expert and we’re going to meet that. … If the jury believes his confession he’s sunk.”

Collier agreed there is nothing specific linking Mooney to the crime and that a bloody glove found at the crime scene did contain two sources of DNA. One source of DNA belongs neither to Mooney nor his wife, Lisa Mooney, who was initially arrested but then freed after charges against her were dropped. The other source of DNA, he said, is too minute to enable experts to identify its contributor.

Jason Mooney, 29, of 2116 S. Sixth St., was arrested a little more than a week after his elderly grandmother was found dead at her Thomas Street residence. Authorities contend the murder was the consequence of a botched robbery.

The matter will likely be argued next week in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court before Judge Charles Cooper.