Verdict expected today in murder trial
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
A local family is waiting today to hear the verdict in the trial of a man accused of killing their daughter in Decatur, Ala. over two years ago. Closing arguments were presented in the case during proceedings on Tuesday.
Karen Croft Tipton, a native of Escambia County who attended W.S. Neal High School, was stabbed to death on March 12, 1999.
Daniel Wade Moore, 28, is on trial in Decatur facing capital murder charges in the case. The state and defense were scheduled to make closing statements in the trial this week before the jury determines the verdict.
Tipton, who was a homemaker at the time of her death, attended and received degrees from Jefferson Davis Community College and Troy State University. She was married to Dr. David Tipton and later moved to the Decatur area where he worked as a psychiatrist. The couple's daughters are Catherine, 7, and Caroline, 11.
Karen lived in East Brewton as a young child, but later moved to the Keego Community. She was a majorette at W.S. Neal and earned early graduation by taking summer accelerated courses.
The daughter of Ann and the late Lawrence Croft, she had a brother, Lance Croft of Orlando and a sister, Laurie Martin of Hot Springs, Ark.
Croft said she looks forward to the end of the trial and hoped that it ended with a guilty verdict against Moore.
She said the entire family has continued to be close after the death of Karen Tipton.
Along with Karen's two daughters, Croft said that she has five more grandchildren and that the family tried to get together to allow the younger generation an opportunity to know each other despite living in three different states. The entire family has plans to meet at Disney World this Christmas.
It was Karen's husband, David Tipton, who found her body. During testimony, he said he returned from work about 4:15 p.m. and noticed, at the garage entrance, that someone had taken the security keypad off the wall. He said he noticed drops of blood on the floor in the foyer and even more near the front door. As he walked up the stairs, David Tipton said he saw his wife on the floor.
The initial investigation led to some DNA evidence, but no murder weapon. It was about one month later that investigators got a break in the case. Daniel Moore attempted to purchase a $900 necklace from J.C. Penney. When the clerk refused to accept his check, he allegedly stole the necklace. He fled by truck, but was ultimately arrested when he wrecked.
Along with the necklace, the police allegedly found a crack pipe inside the vehicle.
A few days later, investigators discovered that Moore had once worked for the alarm company that installed the Tipton's security system and that he had visited the residence at least once on a service call. Moore's uncle allegedly told investigators that Moore was in the Tipton home on the day that Karen Tipton was killed. He also allegedly said that Moore told him that two of his friends killed her.
While serving time for the theft, a grand jury indicted Moore on the capital murder charges. Among the evidence presented was hair samples from Moore that allegedly matched DNA samples of those found at the Tipton home.