VERDICT: A jury has found Darrell Tipton guilty of first degree assault, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in the 2005 stabbing and beating of Cindy Coop-Trent.
After four days of testimony the jury got the case this morning and after several hours of deliberations delivered their verdict late this afternoon.
Tipton could get up to thirty years in prison on the assault convictions and a minimum three years for the armed criminal action convictions. Because Tipton is considered a prior and persistent offender, he could also get an additional seven years in prison for the unlawful use of a weapon conviction.
Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced on February 20,2009.
Both sides have rested in the trial of Darrell Tipton. He is the man accused of beating Cindy Coop-Trent in the head with a skillet and then stabbing the woman back in 2005.
After the attack, Tipton ran to Tennessee and was on the run from lawmen for several months. He was eventually arrested after authorities called his mothers house and told them they were on their way to come and arrest him......what he didn't know was that they had his mothers home surrounded, and arrested Tipton as he attempted to leave in his nephews vehicle.
Prosecuting attorney, Russ Dempsey called a jailhouse snitch to the stand yesterday. The snitch, according to the Springfield NewsLeader, asked Tipton if what was being said in the paper about him killing Cindy Coop-Trent was true. The jailhouse "rat" says that Tipton told him he picked the skillet it up and "wore it out on her."
Defense attorney, Stuart Huffman, told jurors that they shouldn't trust the testimony of the jailhouse informant who plays games with prosecutors for his benefit.
Only one witness was called on behalf of the defendant, another inmate who was in the Greene County jail the same time as Tipton. He told jurors that he had never seen "the rat" speak to Tipton.
The last few witness called were a crime analyst with the Missouri Highway Patrol Crime Lab in Jefferson City and the Greene County Medical Examiner.
The crime analyst testified that DNA found on the broken handle of the skillet found near Coop-Trent's body is consistent with Tiptons;
the medical examiner testified that Coop-Trent suffered a single knife wound to the back, a chipped tooth, bruised lips and blunt force trauma to the head in the attack.
UPDATE: (11-20-08) Prosecutors continued presenting their case against Tipton yesterday. They called several inmates that had been in the Greene County jail with the 51 year-old man. Most of them said that Tipton admitted to beating Cindy Coop-Trent in the head with a skillet and stabbing her too.
However, there was one inmate who said said he couldn't recall actually hearing Tipton confess, even though he'd previously told authorities he had.
Investigators had been searching for months in the dense woods of the Appalachian mountains of northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina. Then they called Tipton's mothers house.
Jurors heard from Tipton's nephew, Abel Lopez, about how skittish his uncle was acting. Lopez had just gotten out of the shower when his uncle told them they had to leave quickly. Tipton was nervous and said they had to go; the cops had called and said they knew he was at his mothers house, and they were on the way to come and get him. What Tipton didn't know was that authorities were already surrounding him mother's house.
A law enforcement official with the Unicoi County Tenn, said that "As soon as that phone call was made, it was a matter of seconds before he was coming out the back door, carrying a bag that appeared to be a backpack and he was carrying a rifle in his other hand."
When Lopez and Tipton attempted to drive off, police vehicles converged on them, halting their attempted getaway.
UPDATE:(11-19-08) A jury has been seated and testimony began today in the trial of Darell L. Tipton. He is the man accused of stabbing and beating Cindy Coop-Trent. Prosecutors say that Tipton admitted his alleged involvement in the attack on Coop-Trent to a fellow inmate in the Greene County jail. His lawyer says that's not true.
Jurors heard from the victims son who said that after he was unable to contact his mother for several days, he informed his grandmother, who then contacted Coop-Trents landlord. The landlord recounted on the stand that he made entry in the house and found the woman's body. Prosecutors then played the landlord, Kirk Heyle', 911 call for jurors.
As of 4 o'clcok this afternoon a jury still has not been chosen in the trial of a man who was on the run from authorities for five months after allegedly attacking a woman in her home nearly three and a half years ago.
Darrell Lynn Tipton is on trial for two counts of first degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action, and a single count of unlawful use of a weapon for stabbing and hitting Cindy Coop-Trent in the back of the head with a skillet.
The thirty eight year-old mother of three died in July of the same year from an overdose of an antidepressant/and possibly the wounds inflicted on her by Tipton.
Authorities launched an intense two-week manhunt for Tipton in the treacherous terrain of the Appalachian Mountains in northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina after they received a tip where Tipton could be found. That lead did not pan out for cops.
However, their tenacity in tracking the man down paid off in the fall of 2005, when Tipton was picked up not long after leaving his mothers house in Unicoi County, Tenn.
The Sheriff of Unicoi County, Ken Harris, says that Tipton has vowed to kill every officer in his path, if and when he is released from jail. It is a threat that law enforcers are taking seriously. When Tipton was arrested cops found a pistol, rifle, several knifes and at least one thousand rounds of ammunition inside a car he was in.
Tipton, who has used at least a dozen aliases escaped from jail in 1990, and is a person of interest in connection with several other crimes, including three homicides in Florida.
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