APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF BECKHAM COUNTY THE
HONORABLE DOUG HAUGHT, DISTRICT JUDGE
RICHARD L. YOHN ROBERT S. KEITH OKLA. INDIGENT DEFENSE SYSTEM
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT
HADA MICHAEL A. ABEL ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEYS BECKHAM COUNTY
COUNSEL FOR THE STATE
H. LOCKARD OKLA. INDIGENT DEFENSE SYSTEM COUNSEL FOR
HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA DONALD D. SELF ASST.
ATTORNEY GENERAL COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE
GRANTING APPELLEE'S MOTION TO PUBLISH, WITHDRAWING PRIOR
OPINION AND SUBSTITUTING ATTACHED OPINION
On March 28, 2019, this Court affirmed Appellant's
conviction and sentence on direct appeal in an unpublished
opinion. On April 12, 2019, the State of Oklahoma filed with
this Court a Motion for Publication and Brief in Support. In
this motion, the State urges that publication of our opinion
in this case is warranted on various grounds. Upon review of
that request and the opinion, and for good cause shown, we
find that the State of Oklahoma's Motion for Publication
and Brief in Support should be and hereby is GRANTED.
IT IS THEREFORE THE ORDER OF THIS COURT that the prior
opinion in the above styled case is WITHDRAWN. The Clerk of
this Court is hereby directed to designate the attached
opinion as "FOR PUBLICATION."
The Clerk of this Court is directed to transmit a copy of
this Order and the attached Opinion to the Court Clerk of
Beckham County; the District Court of Beckham County, the
Honorable Doug Haught, District Judge; and counsel of record.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
WITNESS OUR HANDS AND THE SEAL OF THIS COURT this 13th day of
B. LEWIS, Presiding Judge, DANA KUEHN, Vice-Presiding Judge,
GARY L. LUMPKIN, Judge, ROBERT L. HUDSON, Judge, SCOTT
Appellant, Alex Moore, was tried and convicted at a jury
trial in Beckham County District Court, Case No. CF-2015-9,
of Murder in the First Degree, in violation of 21
O.S.Supp.2012, § 701.7 (A). The jury recommended a
sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole. The Honorable Doug Haught, District Judge, presided
at trial, and sentenced Moore in accordance with the
jury's verdict. Moore now appeals.
The State's evidence showed that Appellant attacked and
killed his cellmate, Todd Bush, on the evening of March 6,
2014. Appellant and Bush were inmates from California
incarcerated at the privately-run Northfork Correctional
Center in Sayre.  Appellant and Bush were under lockdown
in Cell 261 of the Fox South Unit at approximately 7:45 p.m.
when Christopher Hill, a corrections counselor, stopped by to
verify their respective account balances. Hill did not unlock
the cell door during this process although he had a key.
Instead, he knocked on the cell door and spoke with each
inmate through the window. Bush was laying on the bottom bunk
bed when Hill read Bush's account balance. Bush did not
get up but responded with a simple "okay."
Appellant was laying on the top bunk, reading a book when
Hill asked whether he wanted his balance. Appellant hopped
down off his bunk, walked to the door and Hill read his
account balance. Appellant said "okay" and returned
to the top bunk where he resumed reading. Appellant and Bush
were the only two inmates inside the cell.
Before walking away from Cell 261, Hill tugged at the handle
of the cell door to confirm it was locked. Then Hill moved
down the line to the other cells, repeating the process of
balance checks with the other inmates. At approximately 8:00
p.m., Hill finished his shift and had just walked outside the
Fox South Unit when an emergency medical call for
Appellant's and Bush's cell was broadcast. Robert
Hubbard, a correctional officer, was conducting a lockdown of
the inmates on the bottom row of the Fox South Unit when
someone yelled about an inmate down on the top tier.
Hubbard raced upstairs to Cell 261. There, he observed
through the window of the locked cell door Appellant holding
onto Bush. Both inmates were on the floor with
Appellant's legs folded underneath him; Bush was on his
knees. Appellant had his arms wrapped around Bush and was
doing something to Bush's chest. According to Hubbard,
Appellant was "[k]ind of like shaking" Bush's
chest. No other inmates were inside the cell. Hubbard called
over the radio for medical assistance then unlocked the cell
with his key and went inside. Hubbard quickly determined that
Bush had no pulse and that his condition was not good.
Hubbard conveyed this information over the radio, laid
Bush's body flat on the floor and began CPR while waiting
for the medical team to arrive.
Hill arrived to find Hubbard inside Cell 261 performing CPR
on Bush. Hill ushered Appellant away from the cell and told
him to sit on a bench in the common area. Hill then relieved
Hubbard and commenced CPR on Bush. The prison's medical
team soon arrived. Bush was loaded onto a gurney and
transported to a local hospital by ambulance. Bush was in
full cardiac arrest and never responded to the continuous
efforts of the prison medical staff, paramedics and emergency
room personnel to save his life. Bush was pronounced dead at
When asked by Northfork officials what happened to Bush,
Appellant said he didn't know. Appellant explained that
Bush "liked to drink" and had fallen off his bunk
bed. Appellant offered too that he and Bush were from the
same neighborhood. Bruising and abrasions were observed on
Bush's face, neck and upper chest by investigators and
medical personnel that were inconsistent with falling roughly
two feet off the lower bunk bed. A small laceration was
observed at the base of Bush's neck and an abrasion was
apparent on Bush's left rib cage where the skin had
rubbed off. Petechial hemorrhaging was observed in both of
Bush's eyelids. These injuries suggested to investigators
evidence of attack, struggle and asphyxia. By contrast, two
small scratches were observed on Appellant's neck.
Inside Cell 261, investigators found utter disarray. Spilt
"hooch" or contraband prison alcohol (commonly made
from fermented food like bread, fruit and sugar) was spilt on
the floor along with one of Bush's overturned tennis
shoes. In the corner of the cell near a mounted table and
chairs was an overturned cup and wet towel. Passive blood
drips were found in this same area suggesting the source was
directly above the blood drops. Blood swipes were observed on
the cell wall that were consistent with someone trying to get
up off the ground.
Dr. Ruth Kohlmeier, the state medical examiner, autopsied
Bush and determined that the manner of death was homicide
with the cause of death being asphyxiation due to
strangulation. Her external examination revealed bruising on
Bush's hands, forearm and chest area. Bush also had an
abrasion on his left chest. Bush had bruises on his nose,
above his left eyebrow and on his right eyebrow; he also had
a black left eye. These injuries were fresh and were
inflicted during the same time frame. Dr. Kohlmeier ...