Thursday, September 20, 2012
Convicted murderer Terrance Black appeals life sentence
Black was declared indigent -- unable to pay for his own legal fees -- in September.
An appeal has been filed in the case of a Frisco man convicted of the abduction and murder of a Plano Pilates instructor.
Terrance Black, 50, was convicted of the capital murder of Susan Loper and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 30. Loper's nude body was found in a Frisco field on April 20, 2011, one day after she was reported missing from Gleneagles Country Club.
In a court filing, Black's attorney, Pam Lakatos, made a motion for a new trial, stating "the verdict is contrary to the law and evidence in the case, in that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdict."
While no specific examples were given, Black's attorneys were unsuccessful in their attempts to enter evidence about the allegedly violent past of Loper's boyfriend at the time of her death.
Black was declared indigent -- unable to pay for his own legal fees -- by Judge John Roach on September 10, a decision prosecutors disputed in a separate filing on Monday. The filing states there are "too many unanswered questions [about Black's finances] to burden the taxpayers with the cost of his appeal."
"The defendant completed a sworn affidavit of indigency," prosecutor Justin Johnson wrote. "The defendant listed $10 in assets. The defendant did not list any real property owned, nor offer any explanation for the disbursement of the proceeds from the sale of his home to his sister, Wendi, on August 23, a mere 14 days before he swore he had only $10 in assets."
Records from the Denton County Central Appraisal District show that Black sold the house to Wendi, on August 23. No sale price was disclosed on the property, which is located in the 9100 block of Rio Blanco Drive and valued at $200,627. The house was previously transferred from Black to his sister on December 16, 2011, but on May 1, 2012 it was transferred back to Black's control.
The 2,250-square-foot residence is currently listed for sale by realtyexecutivesdfw.com for an asking price of $249,900.
"Defendant sold a $200,000 asset to his sister a mere two weeks before claiming indigency," Johnson wrote in his court filing. "... Perhaps the defendant is indigent. Or perhaps he wasted a $249,000 asset in a sham transaction that was calculated to render him indigent, an action for which should not be rewarded at taxpayer expense."
When reached by phone, Lakatos said she did not comment on pending litigation.
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