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Mooney found not guilty of murder
Mooney w sm
Richard Mooney, 34, was found not guilty of the murder of 63-year-old Robert “Bob” Senick in DeKalb county Criminal Court last week.Senick’s body was found in the remains of his burned Liberty home in October 2009.Mooney, who was represented by attorney Joshua Crain and facing life in prison if convicted, was acquitted after a jury made up of eight women and four men found him not guilty of felony murder and theft of property over $1,000 last Wednesday afternoon in the death of Senick.The DeKalb County Grand Jury returned an indictment in November 2010, alleging that Mooney killed Senick during the commission of a robbery, and took cash and drugs with a value of over $1,000 from Senick’s home.The defense was reportedly willing to enter a guilty plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter, but the District Attorney General's Office rejected the offer.Prosecutors Gary McKenzie and Greg Strong first presented Scotty Franklin of Carthage, who is now serving a 20-year sentence for drug and theft convictions as a witness.Franklin allegedly told TBI Agent Billy Miller during the investigation that Mooney had shared a plan to rob Senick with him, and offered to let him in on the caper.Miller presented a handwritten statement signed by Franklin, but when he was called to the stand, Franklin told the jury that he couldn't remember Mooney ever telling him of such a plan, and that he could not recall giving any such statement to Miller.James Frazier of Liberty took the stand, telling the jury that he discovered that the Senick home had been burned when he took a female companion to the property to buy pills on Oct. 7, 2009.Dr. Feng Li of the state medical examiner's office testified that Senick's autopsy concluded that he died of a single gunshot wound behind his right ear, which exited through his left cheek.Li said the fatal wound was probably inflicted with a handgun, but he did not have concrete proof that it was not a rifle or other long gun.The slug that passed through Senick was never recovered, and no murder weapon was found.Senick’s body was so badly burned that his remains had to be identified through dental records.In his testimony, Greg Whitaker of the Tennessee Bomb and Arson unit said that while his investigation found that the fire appeared to have been purposely started with some sort of incendiary, a K-9 unit at the scene did not indicate the presence of an accelerant.Miller testified that brownish stains were found on two poles supporting a shelter that Senick's 1986 Lincoln Town Car was parked under, and a hunting knife, inside a sheath, was found on the hood of the car.Miller said that more stains were found on the knife and the fender of the car, and that the poles, car, and knife were all sent to the TBI Crime lab to be tested.Miller said that when he met with him on Nov. 12, 2009, Mooney’s response to questions about the murder was that he lived by a code, and he did not talk to the police.Miller said he did, however, tell him that he had not visited the Senick home for more than a month before his death.A search warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Mooney was obtained nearly 10 months later, and Miller testified that though he initially resisted the idea, when Mooney was told that a warrant had been procured, and that the sample would be taken one way or another, he relented, allowing the sample to be collected.Tuesday saw six more witnesses take the stand for the prosecution, and four for the defense, including Mooney himself, who told the jury, "I have nothing to hide.”Prosecutors set out to show that not only did Mooney not have enough money to buy drugs a few days before the murder, but that he came up with the money to purchase a car not long after the crime.The prosecution also attempted to show that Mooney had access to a 9mm handgun at the time of the killing.Warren Glasby, Mooney’s cousin, told the jury that Mooney confessed to killing Senick during a car ride.Crain pointed out that Glasby had reported the confession only a month ago, and asked why Glasby had waited two years after the crime to tell police.Crain asked Glasby whether he expected to get a plea deal from state prosecutors in exchange for his testimony, as he is facing a possible 20-year prison sentence on charges of selling drugs in a school zone.Glasby denied any such deal was in the works, and then turned his attention to Mooney."I got a 12-year sentence because of him (for a carjacking that Mooney is still incarcerated for). He took me away from my family," Glasby said.Crain then asked Glasby if he came forward with the story to get back at Mooney.Glasby denied that revenge had anything to do with the matter.Sheriff Patrick Ray testified that Mooney had a cut on his wrist when Ray questioned him shortly after the murder.When the sheriff asked Mooney about the cut, he said Mooney claimed that he had cut himself while trying to fix the shift mechanism on a car.Ray said that when he told him that DNA evidence had been collected at the scene, Mooney repeatedly asked him what kind of DNA was obtained and where it had been found.Ray said Mooney asked if the DNA was found on cigarette butts or drink cans.The sheriff told the jury that Mooney also said that they could not have found his DNA inside Senick's home, because it could not have survived the fire.Ray said that when he told him that blood had been found, Mooney said that he had suffered from a nose bleed after doing cocaine with Senick.John Vantrease of Alexandria testified that Mooney told him a few days after the murder that he had cut his wrist working on the shifter of a car.Shortly after Senick's death, Mooney went to Murfreesboro where he bought a used Saturn for $1,200.James Jarvis, a salesman for Battleground Motor Company in Murfreesboro where Mooney bought the used Saturn, testified that he sold Mooney the car.Jarvis said the car broke down a few miles from the car lot.Mooney only had the car a short time before selling it to a Woodbury recycler.Donald Dillon of Dowelltown, a man who admitted selling Oxycontin to Mooney, his sister and her boyfriend on more than one occasion, testified that Mooney and his sister had no cash to buy the pills on Oct. 3, 2009, but he let them have the drugs anyway, telling them they could sell it and bring him back the money later.He said that they did.Dillion told the jury that Mooney came to his residence just after the murder asking for a ride to his parent's home.He said that Mooney asked him if he knew of anyone who would be interested in buying a 9mm handgun.Dr. Laura Boos of the TBI Crime Lab DNA unit said she tested the blood spots and DNA found on Senick's car, the poles supporting the shelter and the knife and sheath investigators had recovered, comparing it with the DNA sample Miller had taken from MooneyAlthough Boos said that the two matched, she said she couldn't estimate how long the DNA had been there.Crain asked Miller during cross-examination why the investigation was concentrated on Mooney when so many of Senick’s other associates could have been involved.Miller said that investigators followed every lead to its conclusion, and all signs pointed to Mooney.Mooney’s brother, Alan Mooney, testified that he and Mooney were working steadily, laying bricks in Rutherford County at the time of the murder, and that Mooney had plenty of money to buy a car.The witness told the jury that he and his brother sometimes cashed $10,000 checks. Mooney himself took the stand before court was adjourned for the day, saying that Senick was an old family friend, and that killing him for $1,000 was not something he was capable of.Mooney was more combative under cross examination, however, often growing irritated by the prosecutor’s questions, and accusing authorities of “twisting everything I say and using it against me.”Closing arguments began Wednesday morning, with Crain telling the jury that even though his client was a convicted carjacker, among other fallacies, and a “jerk,” it did not mean he was a murderer.The jurors were then charged, and retired to begin deliberations at 11:10 a.m.The verdict was returned at 2:10 p.m.Mooney was returned to jail in Rutherford County, where he is currently serving a 10-year sentence for the carjacking.