Posted: Thursday, September 26th 2002 at 3:22pm
Byron "Low Tax" Looper seeks new trial
By staff reports
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - Attorneys for Byron "Low Tax" Looper have filed papers in Tennesee’s state court of criminal appeals seeking a new trial.
Looper's attorney, John Herbison, of Nashville, told the court's three-judge panel Tuesday that his client deserved a new trial because three potential witnesses were improperly excluded from testifying at the trial.
The three witnesses were heard in the August 2000 trial in Crossville, Tennessee, and claimed that they could place "Low Tax" in Hall County on the day he was accused of killing Tennessee State Senator Tommy Burks.
Paul Voelker, Barbara Reed and Looper's brother, Russell, all claim to have seen him at his mother's home in Flowery Branch on October 19 1998.
However, none of the testimony was heard by the jury, because the judge said witnesses, who can establish alibi, are supposed to be listed and approved before a trial begins.
"Low Tax" was convicted of the 1998 death of political opponent, State Senator Tommy Burks, in Tennessee and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
When Looper was in Georgia he ran an unsuccessful race against Gainesville Attorney Wyc Orr for the State House.
Authorities say Byron Looper killed Burks because he was afraid of losing an election to him which was scheduled in November 1998, two weeks after the murder.
Judges Alan Glenn of Memphis, Joseph M. Tipton of Knoxville and Gary Wade of Sevierville heard the appeal but have not issued a ruling.
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