Victim's friend says Moore guilty verdict 'Round 1'

Victim's friend says Moore guilty verdict 'Round 1'

June 22nd, 2013 by Todd South in Local Regional News

Carressa Hall watches proceedings Thursday during the murder trial of Unjolee Moore.

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

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.

Unjolee Tremone Moore is escorted into Judge Don...

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

The childhood friend of a man killed during a failed 2010 home invasion hopes Friday's guilty verdict for one of the attackers will be repeated next month when two accused in the case are tried.

Timothy Westfield spoke moments after a jury declared Unjolee Moore guilty of first-degree murder in the June 29, 2010, shooting death of Bernard Hughes.

Moore, 27, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 52 years.

Westfield was in Hughes' apartment at 4417 Oakwood Drive when Hughes answered the door and began fighting off men trying to rob him. Westfield tried to help Hughes and was shot in the hand.

Hughes, 46, was shot in the head and arm. He died immediately.

Moore was charged along with three other men -- John Thomas "Cutthroat" Simpson, 32; Harold Francis Butler III, 33; and Steven James Ballou, 33.

Simpson pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and faces a 15- to 25-year sentence. He agreed to testify against the others but was not called in this trial.

Butler and Ballou are scheduled to be tried together July 16.

Family members cried and hugged prosecutors Neal Pinkston and Cameron Williams in the hallway following the verdict. Jurors declined to comment.

"The day he died, I died," said Hughes' twin sister, Berlinda Hughes.

"He can rest now because he didn't deserve this," said Carressa Hall, Hughes' niece. "My uncle was a good man. If they just would have went and asked him for it, he would have given it to him."

Moore told police after the crime that he planned with three other men to rob Hughes. He said he told the others Hughes sold marijuana but was not armed and would be an "easy target."

But Westfield said Hughes made very little money from selling small amounts of marijuana.

"He died for nothing," Westfield said. "The senselessness of it is what I think hurts the most. Out of all the drug dealers in town they probably picked the brokest so-called drug dealer to rob."

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