published Friday, June 21st, 2013

Slaying defendant told police of plans to rob drug dealer

  • photo
    Unjolee Tremone Moore is escorted into Judge Don Poole's courtroom to continue his trial in the killing of Bernard Hughes at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Courts Building on Thursday.
    Photo by C. B. Schmelter /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The 27-year-old Chattanooga man on trial this week for a 2010 slaying told police that he helped plan a robbery but didn't know it would turn into a killing.

In a 2010 police interrogation recording played throughout most of Thursday afternoon in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole's courtroom, Unjolee Moore reluctantly told Chattanooga police that he knew from friends that Bernard Hughes, 46, dealt marijuana and would be an easy target to rob.

For taking the men to Hughes' 4417 Oakwood Drive apartment, Moore was to get 40 percent of the money taken.

He never got the money. He told police he only learned Hughes had been killed a week after the June 29, 2010, shooting death.

Prosecutors Neal Pinkston and Cameron Williams finished their portion of the case late Thursday afternoon. Defense attorneys Garth Best and Kelli Black will begin their portion of the case this morning.

On the second day of the trial Wednesday, Timothy Westfield, Hughes' childhood friend who also tried to help him fend off attackers the day he was killed, testified to details of the event.

Westfield, Hughes and two others were in the victim's apartment when a knock at the door brought Hughes outside. He fought with at least two men. Westfield helped but was knocked unconscious. When he came to, Hughes was dead.

Police arrested Moore along with John Thomas "Cutthroat" Simpson, 32; Harold Francis Butler III, 33; and Steven James Ballou, 33.

Simpson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in January and agreed to testify against the other men. He was not called to testify by the prosecution.

Ballou and Butler are scheduled to be tried together on July 16. Best referenced Butler as the shooter in Hughes earlier in the trial.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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