On Thursday, prosecutor Mark Sleeper got into a verbal altercation with an Ohio judge, calling the trial a “sham” and eventually storming out of the courtroom.
Sleeper, along with his colleague Melissa Schiffel, is representing the state in the Delaware County, Ohio, trial of Matheau Moore. Moore is accused of murdering his late wife, Emily Noble, and attempting to make the death look like a suicide.
Moore has repeatedly claimed innocence, as he told detectives in footage that was played in court, as reported by local outlet 10WBNS, “Guys, I did not hurt my wife. I did not hurt my wife. I loved her. I know I did not hurt her, I didn’t do anything. So the only other thing I can think of is that she did something to herself.”
At the time of the interview, Police noted that Noble was still considered “missing.” Moore used the past tense to talk about her despite allegedly being unaware of her death. Noble was found hanging in the woods near her home. Her injuries suggested a different story, however, and investigators ruled her death a homicide. Moore faces life in prison if convicted.
As the trial entered its seventh day on Thursday, Sleeper was bothered by the fact that Judge Stephen Wolaver wanted to continue proceedings despite the fact that Schiffel was absent. All parties had been made aware that she would be unavailable on Thursday.
Sleeper raised an objection, arguing that the case shouldn’t move forward without all parties present, hoping to wait until Schiffel returned to the courtroom.
“She chose not to be here,” the judge replied, which upset Sleeper, heating up the exchange.
“That’s not accurate!” Sleeper objected. The prosecutor reminded the judge that Schiffel had informed the court two weeks prior that she would be unavailable.
Wolaver simply noted the objection and moved forward, but Sleeper continued, saying, “I’m not going to participate in this proceeding without an elected county prosecutor. I think this is a sham that this is going forward!”
Sleeper claimed that the judge had been aware of the scheduling conflict, even telling Schiffel that it wouldn’t be an issue.
“You were told about her unavailability, and you specifically told her on the phone not to cancel that appointment, that it wouldn’t be a problem,” Sleeper said.
“If you don’t want to be here for the decision, that’s your business,” Wolaver responded.
“Well, your honor, I think this is outrageous you’re going forward without the prosecutor,” Sleeper responded, exiting the courtroom as the court fell silent.
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