Email probe in Luther murder case nets one relevant message
Franklin – The mystery continues surrounding the nearly six-year-old murder of John Newton, but there finally may be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Corey Luther is still awaiting trial on a murder charge in the incident, which took place in November 2011. Numerous side investigations and motions have slowed the process, but a judge has completed on arduous task relating to the case.
Judge J. Thomas Davis recently completed a review of 8,000 emails subpoenaed from Yahoo in an account used by former assistant district attorney Jim Moore. He chose just one of those emails to be entered into discovery for the case.
That email was sent by Randy Cook of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and titled, “Stolen Property of John Brian Newton,” according to a court document filed March 14.
It was unclear what was contained in that one email. While a copy was given to both attorneys, assistant district attorney Eric Bellas said it was not a public record.
The other thousands of emails were determined by Davis to be irrelevant to the case and only dealt with “logistical, appropriate internal work.”
Davis added that nothing relevant was found in the personnel records of four deputies who were part of the State Bureau of Investigation’s side case surrounding the murder. The results of that investigation also have not been made public.
Last summer, an SBI spokesman confirmed the existence of an investigation into “allegations surrounding James Moore of the 30th prosecutorial district,” adding that the purpose is to determine whether Moore “willfully omitted or concealed discernible evidence” in the case.
In addition to first-degree murder charges, Luther is faced with charges of felony safecracking, breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Bellas said the next administrative hearing in Luther’s case will be held Monday, June 26, when a date for pretrial motions will be set. Bellas acknowledged there was a chance the trial could be pushed back long enough that it could enter a seventh year after the incident.
In January, the victim’s mother, Sally Ruth Newton, expressed outrage over the delays.
“My son was killed, and they just keep putting it off. How would they feel if it was their child who was murdered?” she asked.