The Murder of Ryan Adam Moon

Family Seeking Justice - By Jim Mustian at Odessa American News

Family Seeking Justice  Link to onlilne article or a copy/paste below.   

I have links to other news articles on a separate page but I felt this deserved it's own.  Thank you Jim, and thank you to all my newfound friends on oaoa.com that has supported my family.

 

Family seeking justice 

Survivors of Ryan Adam Moon urge authorities to reopen case

Rose F. Kennedy, a matriarch who knew pain all too well, famously rejected the adage that time heals all wounds.

"I do not agree," she was once quoted as saying. "The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone."

Kennedy’s words ring true for Karen Harless, an Odessa woman whose life was inalterably changed two years ago today. Harless’ son, Ryan Adam Moon, 26, was stabbed five times in the chest during a fistfight over a $150 debt and died in an Odessa hospital.

Closure is by no means guaranteed for any victims of violent crime, but it’s proved exceptionally elusive for Harless and her family.

"This has destroyed our lives," Harless said in an interview this week. "We have life before Adam was killed, and now we have life after Adam was killed."

As if Moon’s absence weren’t painful enough, Harless and her family must cope with the possibility that justice may never be served in his death. Six months ago, the family relived the anguish of Moon’s slaying at trial, but an Ector County jury acquitted Christopher David Lyson of murder charges in connection with Moon’s death.

Prosecutors accused Lyson of stabbing Moon while Moon was fighting with Terrence L. Jackson over the debt. During the trial, defense attorney Dusty Gallivan poked several holes in the prosecution’s case and repeatedly reminded jurors of perhaps the most remarkable detail of the case: According to two nurses, Moon implicated Jackson at least twice in the final minutes of his life.

The family was devastated at the two-word verdict; Moon’s elderly grandmother was so distressed she had to be taken to the hospital. Stricken with grief, Harless and her relatives left the courtroom comforting one another with the notion that Moon’s killer would one day answer to a higher authority.

But the shock and disappointment that consumed Moon’s family in the weeks after the trial has given way to some degree of resentment. In online posts and a new website devoted to Moon’s slaying, the family has criticized the Odessa Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office, insisting the authorities prosecuted the wrong man.

"We want closure, and I don’t know how to get that with a murderer walking the street," Harless said. "Especially when I don’t believe that the man that was tried even did it."

Two years after Moon’s death, Harless and her family are urging investigators to take a second look at the case. They’re also offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Moon’s killer.

But absent any new evidence, District Attorney Bobby Bland said his hands are tied. He said prosecutors did everything they could to convict Lyson, who couldn’t be retried if he took out an advertisement admitting to the crime due to double jeopardy protection.

"When your victim says somebody did it right before he died, even though he’s under the influence of narcotics and is wounded, that’s powerful evidence against you," Bland said. "But it wouldn’t be enough to support a conviction (of Jackson). The only thing we have is a dead person’s statement right before he died, which is contradicted by his own statement a few hours earlier and all the evidence at trial."

Bland was alluding to the fact that witnesses testified they heard Moon blame Lyson for the stabbing moments after the fight.

Harless doesn’t accept that explanation and has spent hours digging for additional evidence, clinging to the hope that one day somebody will be punished for taking her son.

"They say that (Moon) would not have been coherent enough to know who stabbed him," Harless said indignantly. "Yet he was coherent enough to call the man by name. He was coherent enough to walk to the car to get to the hospital, but he wasn’t coherent enough to see who stabbed him? That doesn’t add up."

The tragedy for Harless began about midnight on May 29, 2008, when Moon and his girlfriend, Jamayea Brockett, pulled up in front of Jackson’s mother’s mobile home at 707 Bunche Ave. Police said Jackson owed Moon some money, and their encounter quickly deteriorated into a fistfight.

At some point during the skirmish, authorities said Moon was stabbed five times in the chest with either a small pocketknife or a screwdriver. (The murder weapon was never identified.) Moon’s death seemed to surprise everyone who witnessed the fight. Testimony at trial showed Moon and Jackson shook hands after the fight, and it wasn’t until Moon got back into the car with his girlfriend that he fully realized the severity of his wounds and was rushed to the hospital with blood pouring out of his chest.

Despite what Moon told the nurses trying to save his life, Brockett testified she heard Moon say after the fight that it was Lyson who stabbed him. "‘Your homeboy didn’t have to stab me like that,’ " she recalled Moon telling Jackson. Brockett said she was "positive" she saw Lyson perform "a stabbing motion" in an attempt to help Jackson during the struggle.

But Lyson told detectives he watched the fight as a third party. "I’ll swear on the Bible. I’ll do anything," he told detectives. "I’ll take a lie detector test right now."

Shortly before Lyson’s trial in November, it was Jackson who voluntarily submitted to and passed three consecutive polygraph tests. He was specifically asked during the interrogation whether he "stabbed" Lyson; he insisted he had not.

The results of polygraphs are generally inadmissible in court.

"We’ve not held anything back. The jury got to exam the whole case," Bland said. "We did all we could with the evidence we had. I think sometimes … just the evidence fails."

Moon’s aunt, Terri Kays, said she believes the authorities had reason to question Brockett’s credibility.

"I just think the police based their investigation on what Jamayea told them and had the evidence fit that scenario," she said. "What we would like them to do is follow the evidence and go in the direction it takes them. All we want is for someone with a fresh set of eyes to take a look at this again."

Bland has agreed to meet with the family next week to discuss the case. But he said investigators would need to discover a significant amount of new evidence to even think about bringing the case before a grand jury again.

The Texas Rangers, for their part, poked around a bit in the beginning but have not opened an inquiry into Moon’s death, Texas Ranger Brian Burney said. Exploring other remedies, Harless said she considered suing the hospital for not doing more to save Moon, but she decided against that in the end.

In the meantime, Harless is grasping for something, anything, to help her cope.

"It’s what keeps us going is trying to catch this man, trying to get evidence," Harless said. "I think it gets more difficult as it goes on."

"To me it’s almost like having a missing child, one that you can’t find. I mean I know where he is of course. But knowing that some other family is going to have to do this, they’re going to be ripped apart, and somebody else is going to have to die for no reason."

Kays said she has reason to hope for a positive outcome.

"I still have faith in the system," she said. "I’ve talked to lots of people since this has happened who were in similar situations, and sometimes it takes a while for justice. I think we’ll get there."