Unsolved, but not forgotten

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Investigator asking for new information

Though the case is now more than 8 years old, the unsolved murder of an elderly Ironton woman is still just as vivid to those working to bring the killer to justice.

The Ironton Police Department recently reopened the murder case of Thelma J. Mooney — the 85-year-old Thomas Street resident who was found stabbed to death in her home on Feb 18, 2007 — in hopes that someone will come forward with new information.

Detective Joe Ross was a patrolman at the time and had been with the IPD for about 11 years.

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“The brutality of the crime … I had never seen anything to that extent in my career up to that point,” Ross recalled.

Likewise, Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson was just an assistant prosecutor at the time of the murder. He said with different detectives handling the case now, fresh sets of eyes might help.

“The crime itself was horrific,” Anderson said. “Whoever did this is still walking out on the streets and they shouldn’t be.”

The case of Thelma Mooney’s murder ran cold in June 2008. That’s when the sole suspect and grandson of the victim, was cleared of murder charges just a week before his trial was set to begin.

Jason Mooney, and his wife, Lisa, were arrested about two weeks after the murder. Both were indicted by a Lawrence County grand jury in March of 2007, but charges against Lisa Mooney were dismissed the following April.

Jason Mooney admitted to the crime during an interrogation, but later recanted. His attorney contented he was interrogated for upwards of 10 hours and it was the man’s Asperger’s Syndrome that played a part in him making a false confession. He wanted those statements to be suppressed at trial.

While Judge Charles Cooper ruled the confession to be admissible, the case never went to trial. Ultimately, lack of matching DNA evidence found on a bloody glove at the crime scene halted the case and charges against Jason Mooney were dismissed in June 2008.

Since then, no other suspects have been arrested but Ross and Anderson both say the case is active.

“There is a DNA profile but we’ve not been able to match it to any suspects,” Anderson said, adding that as newer methods of DNA testing become available, the sample will continue to be tested.

Ross said he is hopeful someone will come forward with more information about the case.

“I think there is someone out there who knows more than what they are saying,” Ross said. “It’s going to take that person to come forward so we can solve this case.”