Firebombing trial opens with tears

September 25, 1992|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Betty Moore lifted her glasses and wiped tears from her eyes. She was on a witness stand, describing the firebombing that killed two of her young grandchildren.

"My living room said, 'woof.' All I could see was smoke and fire," she said yesterday, testifying in the trial of three men accused of tossing a Molotov cocktail into her East Baltimore rowhouse on Jan. 3 as part of a drug dispute. "I was trying to get up the steps, screaming: 'Someone get the children out.' "

Reva Shalita Moore, 5, and Anthony Jamar Moore, 4, did not get out. Other occupants of the house in the 2000 block of E. Federal St. escaped by leaping from a rear bedroom onto the roof of a first-floor summer kitchen. And one man was critically injured after falling from a front third-floor bedroom. The children's bodies were found in that room.

"This case is about drugs and revenge and murder," April Gluckstern, an assistant state's attorney, told a Baltimore Circuit Court jury yesterday as the trial began. The intended victim, she said, was a family friend who owed a drug dealer money.

She said a witness would place the three defendants near the Moore home before the fire and would say that 31-year-old Renford A. Martin, who police say is a Jamaican national, threw a lighted container of gasoline through a first-floor living room win- dow.

Also charged with arson and two counts of first-degree murder ** are: 30-year-old Lennroy A. Martin, Renford's brother; and 20-year-old Duane Dundas. All of the defendants have the same address in the 2200 block of Mura St.

The prosecution is trying to link the three defendants to the crime through Thomas Hobbs, former boyfriend of the dead children's mother. Mr. Hobbs said he agreed to sell $300 worth of Mr. Dundas' "ready rock" cocaine so he could buy Christmas presents for the Brown children.

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