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Title    : Man Who Blamed Alien Gets New Trial
Date    :


Man Who Blamed Alien Gets New Trial

.c The Associated Press


PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the murder
convictions and death sentence of a man who admitted killing two women but
said space aliens were in control of him at the time.

The ruling means that Robert Joe Moody is entitled to a new trial for the
1993 separate robbery-murders of two friends, Michelle Malone, 33, and
Patricia Magda, 56.

Moody, 39, claimed his involvement in the crimes was involuntary because
``extrasensory biological entities'' were in control of his body and he was
merely an unconscious observer of the murders.

Moody asked Superior Court Judge Howard Hantman before his 1995 trial to
appoint him a new lawyer, saying he didn't trust his court-appointed
attorney. Hantman refused and Moody ended up representing himself with
assistance from his original public defender and later a different one.

Hantman's refusal to appoint a new defense lawyer violated Moody's
constitutional right to representation, the Supreme Court said in a majority
opinion signed by four justices.

The majority said there was evidence of a ``deep and irreconcilable
conflict'' between Hantman and the defense lawyer beyond the lawyer's
reluctance to advocate the space-aliens defense. Hantman had ruled that
defense could not be argued because there was no evidence to support it.

Moody had asked to be executed, telling Hantman during his 1996 sentencing
that the aliens would resurrect him and prove their existence.

Prosecutors said Moody killed to support a drug habit.

AP-NY-11-12-98 2216EST

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP
news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press





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