Judge to allow Mooney#8217;s statements

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Statements Jason Mooney made to police prior to his arrest will be used during his trial, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper ruled Monday.

Mooney, of Ironton, is accused of stabbing to death his grandmother in February 2007.

Elderly Thelma Mooney was found dead at her Thomas Street home Feb. 18, 2007. Jason Mooney and his wife, Lisa, were arrested in connection with her death nearly two weeks later. Charges against Lisa Mooney were later dropped. Jason Mooney remains in the Lawrence County Jail under a half-million dollar bond.

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While it was not discussed in Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Rick Faulkner said the preliminary BCI reports and the discovery reports provided to the defense by the prosecution show that Mooney did not commit this crime.

“The DNA evidence on the gloves (found at the scene) does not match Mooney,” he said. “Jason is excluded by the DNA evidence, and that comes from the BCI.”

Mooney’s attorneys have contended Mooney made statements admitting his guilt only after a lengthy interrogation by law enforcement and that Mooney has since recanted those statements. Faulkner said Mooney’s statement is the only piece of evidence linking the man to his grandmother’s death.

During Monday’s hearing, Ironton Police Detective Jim Akers and Shane Hanshaw, investigator for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, both testified at length about their conversation with Mooney prior to his arrest.

&uot;This was an evidenciary hearing that gave us the opportunity to hear the statements by the officers under oath and explore the evidence,” Faulkner said.

“It was a two hour hearing of intense cross examination where both officers said the only evidence connecting (Mooney) was his statement, that he ultimately denied.”

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier, Jr., was not

immediately available for comment. He has contended in the past the statements Mooney made amounted to a confession.

Faulkner said he was concerned that Mooney was held for 8 to 10 hours and questioned during much of that time, yet only 20 minutes was taped. The attorney contends that

Mooney denied the crime from the start and the end and only made contradictory statements after he was interrogated at length.

Faulkner said the statements that police taped, and which the prosectuion considers a confession, include comments by Mooney about cutting his grandmother and taking jewelry from the home. No evidence of the murder or stolen jewelry was found, Faulkner said.

Earlier this year, defense attorneys had asked Cooper to allow Huntington, W.Va., psychiatrist Dr. Bobby Miller, to testify as an expert witness on behalf of Mooney.

Miller contended Mooney suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and therefore is more likely to give a false confession because of it. Collier had argued there is no credible medical evidence to back up Miller’s claim. Cooper ruled against allowing Miller to testify as an expert witness.

Jury selection will begin Monday. Cooper said he anticipates the trial will take most of not all week.