Monday, June 01, 2015
Killer's uncle: If MSSU coach had been a gentleman, he would be alive today
The allegations, along with five supporting affidavits, were included in Jeffrey Bruner's motion for a new trial. A Jasper County jury convicted Bruner of first degree murder on March 25. The motion will be taken up by Judge Gayle Crane during Bruner's June 15 sentencing hearing.
The affidavits claim that the jury foreman, described as a woman who had long blond hair and wore glasses, "appeared to be mouthing words to the victim's family" throughout the trial, and one affidavit claimed "from her body language she appeared to have made up her mind as the guilt of the defendant."
The affidavits, as well as some letters of support were written by friends, some of whom appear to attend the same church as Bruner in the Springfield area.
The alleged juror misconduct was one of many items cited by attorney Rorr Rhoades in his motion. Rhoades said the judge erred by not granting his motion for a change of venue. That was also cited in the letters and affidavits, which claimed that Bruner could not get a fair trial in Jasper County because of the enormous amount of pre-trial publicity.
Rhoades says Judge Crane erred when she did not allow him to impeach Dawn Bruner's testinony that her marriage "was over" in 2012. The defense had text messages sent by Mrs. Bruner to her husband in the summer of 2013, that indicated that the marriage was anything but over.
Other items cited as errors were Crane's decision to allow the prosecution to show an autopsy photo of Moore and her decision to allow the results of a search of Bruner's car to be entered into evidence. Rhoades claims his client's Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
There was never any doubt that Bruner shot Moore to death in front of the Northstar 14 theatre on November 1, 2013. The question was always whether it was premeditated, hence the first degree murder charge, or done in the heat of the moment. Rhoades was rejected in his effort to claim a justification defense.
Support letters talked about Bruner's Christian faith and his four years in the Air Force, as well as his lack of a criminal background.
In one support letter, Bruner's uncle, Bob Bruner wrote, "Throughout the years, he never showed any indication of being a violent man. On the contrary, he is a peace loving person who has a strong commitment to God, our Lord Jesus Christ, family and country.
"We all know that Jeff killed Mr. Moore with brutal force. I believe that Jeff shot Mr. Moore at that theater only after a heated confrontation and having his life threatened by Mr. Moore. No gun was pulled out until after that threat was made. If Jeff had gone to the theater with intent to kill Mr. Moore, he surely would have found a less public place to do it.
"Also, if Mr. Moore had stepped aside like a gentleman and let Jeff talk to his wife, he would most likely be alive today.
"Jeff Bruner has been wrongly convicted of cold-blooded murder."