Alabama - October 13, 2001

Ex-officer recants testimony

Richard Mobley said he was 'pressured' to give false testimony against a fellow officer

By Alvin Benn
Montgomery Advertiser


A former state narcotics officer who helped convict a fellow agent of murdering an informant's wife 16 years ago now claims he was pressured into giving false testimony.

Richard R. Mobley said in a two-page affidavit that "I testified untruthfully" in the trial of Grady Gibson, who is serving a life without parole prison term for murdering Dana Hart in 1985.

"Grady Gibson never confessed to me that he murdered Dana Hart," Mobley said in the affidavit that was filed this week in Butler County Circuit Court. "I manipulated Grady's actual statements into a confession because of the threats against me."

Mobley, who declined to discuss the case Friday afternoon, said in his affidavit that the "pressure" was applied by several of his Alabama Bureau of Investigation supervisors, but a state prosecutor said Friday that the former agent's claims "are nonsense."

Assistant Attorney General Joe Marston also said Mobley, who lives in Montgomery, may now have opened himself up to possible perjury charges because of the affidavit.

"(Mobley) hasn't got his lies straight," Marston said. "His testimony at the trial was very, very minor anyway. It was like a footnote. This was a totally circumstantial case, and the evidence presented at trial was sufficient for a conviction."

Ever since his conviction in 1987, Gibson has been trying to win a new trial.

Gibson was convicted by a Butler County jury of murdering Hart, who was the wife of his informant, Eddie Hart, for $150,000 in insurance money. The policy was taken out two weeks before she was murdered, and her husband was the beneficiary.

Authorities said Gibson and his informant, who is serving a 50-year prison sentence, stabbed and beat Dana Hart to death off I-65 after they stopped during a drive to the Gulf Coast.

Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska, who prosecuted Gibson, said Friday that Mobley's affidavit "doesn't change a thing" about Gibson's guilt.

"He (Gibson) just doesn't like being in jail," Valeska said. "The evidence hasn't changed a bit. We don't pressure anybody to testify. He (Mobley) testified before the jury and took an oath to tell the truth. Obviously, perjury is a crime."

Gibson, 51, a former Marine who served in Vietnam and is a graduate of the University of Alabama, insisted at his trial that he was on a fishing trip in Baldwin County when Dana Hart was killed. 

(Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)