Cell mates say Tipler plotted to hire killer

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two former cell mates have testified that disbarred attorney Harvey Tipler was plotting to have an assistant state attorney in Florida killed.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that Wallace Morris testified Wednesday that he told Tipler he would stalk and kill Assistant State Attorney Russ Edgar with a sniper’s rifle for $50,000. Morris is now serving a three-year sentence in Jefferson County for aggravated battery.

Morris said the topic of killing Edgar evolved from a conversation in which Tipler mentioned killing an investigator for the state attorney’s office.

“I said, ‘Why go after the investigator? You’re just pissing him off by killing the investigator. Why not kill the prosecutor himself?’ ” Morris testified. “I said, ‘I can do it.’ ”

Another former cell mate, Dion Lowe, testified on Tuesday that Tipler used the jailhouse code “roast pig” to discuss a potential hit on Edgar.

Lowe said Tipler cried when describing the way he was being treated by Edgar, and offered to pay Lowe $1,100 to find transportation to Atlanta to find a hit man there to kill Edgar using a long-range rifle and a silencer, Elmore told jurors.

Lowe testified he told Tipler he’d help him but didn’t mean it.

Lowe again was alerted to how serious Tipler was, according to the prosecution, when Tipler called him about a month after Lowe had been released from jail.

The jury heard the code used in a taped phone call in which Tipler tells Lowe he had found cash to pay him to take care of the “project” they’d discussed and states, “I look forward to having some roast pig with barbeque sauce on it.”

According to Elmore’s opening argument, Lowe’s effort to take Tipler’s money was foiled because a snitch, former attorney R. Scott Whitehead, already had gone to authorities to sell out Tipler.

Lowe went to a pre-arranged meeting place in Destin to get cash for the “project” and was taken into custody.

He, Whitehead and Morris, have taken plea deals to testify against Tipler. Morris testified on cross examination Wednesday that he is serving three years on a charge that could have carried a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence in return for working with the prosecution.

The trial is expected to last all week, paper reported.

To read complete coverage of the trial, visit www.nwfdailynews.com.