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Dallas murder suspect captured after police say he cut leg monitor while out on bond

James Moore had been released on bond after prosecutors said they weren’t ready for trial.

Brian Harp
Brian Harp, an employee at Cafe Delicious in South Dallas, was killed during a robbery Sept. 25, 2019. (KXAS-TV (NBC5))((KXAS-TV (NBC5)))

By Krista M. Torralva

A suspect in a capital murder case police say was on the run shortly after he was released from jail on bond was arrested again Thursday afternoon.

James Moore was found in Northeast Dallas by the U.S. Marshals and taken into custody, Dallas police said. Moore was released from jail last week after Dallas County prosecutors announced they were not ready for his trial. That prompted state District Judge Ernie White to reduce Moore’s bail amount from $500,000 to $1,000.

Dallas police allege Moore was among a group of people who robbed Cafe Delicious, a restaurant in South Dallas, on Sept. 25, 2019. An employee, Brian Harp, was fatally shot during the robbery. He was 53.

State law requires judges set a bond that a person waiting in jail can make when prosecutors are unprepared for trial.

“The judge has no discretion in this. He has to set a bond so that the defendant can be released from jail,” prominent defense lawyer Toby Shook said. Shook is not involved in Moore’s case.

District Attorney John Creuzot’s office declined to comment. A court record filed by his office to request the trial’s delay says the lead detective on the case was on leave for personal family reasons and would be unavailable to testify in the trial. DNA testing on evidence was also incomplete, prosecutors wrote.

The judge, who could not be reached for comment, ordered Moore released on house arrest with an electronic monitoring device. Court records show the county is paying for the electronic monitoring device because Moore’s finances show he could not afford to pay for it.

Moore was released from jail June 17. The next day, his monitoring device sent an alert that it was tampered with, according to a court record signed by Creuzot.

Mayor Eric Johnson chimed in Wednesday, writing on Twitter that he and Dallas police Chief Eddie García can’t meet their crime control goals without help from court officials.

“Public safety must be our top priority, and every level of the criminal justice system must do its part if we are going to reduce violent crime in our city,” Johnson wrote in a comment provided to The Dallas Morning News. “In this case, it appears that the system failed. The decision-makers in that system need to figure out what happened and correct it immediately.”

Johnson offered to advocate for a change of laws if needed.

“(I)f the answer is that we need a change in state law, I will be happy to go to Austin to testify on a bill and share my thoughts with our legislators,” he wrote.

Moore’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

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