Powhatan prosecutor recuses himself from Jacob Moore's case

Updated: Jun. 22, 2017 at 5:43 PM EDT
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POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - The family of a Powhatan stabbing victim says a potential plea deal in the case is disappointing and upsetting.

Norris Goode Junior survived a knife through his head during a fight over a fishing spot. Two brothers were charged, Jacob and Jesse Moore.

Jesse was found not guilty in March. Now Goode's family just found out Thursday morning that Jacob Moore has a potential plea deal, and his felony aggravated malicious wounding charge may be reduced to a misdemeanor assault.

"I'm just lost, definitely," Goode Jr. told reporters after the hearing at the Powhatan County courthouse.

"Our family needs justice in some form or fashion," says Goode's mother, Rebecca Parker. "And this judge was the last person to touch this case."

The special prosecutor from Chesterfield says her hands are tied. The deal was made with the Powhatan prosecutor after Jacob testified against his older brother back in March. The Powhatan prosecutor has now recused himself from the Jacob Moore case.

Jesse Moore was found not guilty by Judge Paul Cella, because he says prosecutors could not prove who had the knife.

"We will not have peace, there is no such thing in this type of incident," says Parker. "To be able to write that off, like from a felony to a misdemeanor, is just very disgusting."

Goode and his family maintain the judge did not look at all the evidence, and they believe the judge's decision was based on race.

"It's some prejudice, bias," says Goode.

"The way [Judge Cella] made jokes and laughed, and then argued with the prosecuting attorney during his closing argument, the mere fact that he did not even get up to review the over 30 pieces of evidence," says Parker.  "Leads me to believe that you already had your mind made up."

The family is getting support from the local NAACP.  Marches have been held and more are being organized.

"I'm firmly here to tell you that I do not think two African American kids or young men, who did this to a white man in this county, would walk away with the justice we're seeing today," says Philip Thompson with the NAACP Loudoun County branch.

They say no matter the outcome of this case, they will continue to fight for other families in similar situations.

A motion was also filed by the defense for the court to recuse itself from the case. Goode says he actually wants Judge Cella to stay on it to see how he decides.

A jury trial date is supposed to be set in August.

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