October 12, 2004
CROSSVILLE (AP) -- A former public official convicted of murdering a state senator was in court Tuesday seeking a new trial.
Byron "Low Tax" Looper, a former property assessor in Putnam County, is seeking a new trial for the 1998 shooting death of Tommy Burks of Monterey.
Judge J.S. Daniel took the case under advisement and gave Looper's attorney a week to do further work in the matter.
Looper is serving life in prison for slaying Burks on Burks' farm in order to clear the way for Looper to win his seat in the Tennessee Senate.
Looper, who changed his name to add Low Tax before opposing Burks' re-election, was in court, shackled and in handcuffs. "I'm really disappointed I got this biased judge again," he told WSMV-TV of Nashville.
Looper's 600-page, mostly handwritten petition claims he had inadequate council during his trial in 2000.
"The judge referred to it as convoluted and difficult to read and it certainly is that," said District Attorney Bill Gibson, who prosecuted Looper.
Charlotte Burks, Burks' widow, was elected to fill her late husband's seat.
Kim Blaylock, the Burkses' daughter, said the appeal Tuesday was a waste of time. "I feel like he had representation. He had a fair trial. No matter where he takes it, the conviction will stay," she said.
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