Edgewood woman guilty in murder-for-hire case

September 30, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

A Harford Circuit Court jury convicted a 35-year-old Edgewood woman yesterday on charges stemming from a February murder-for-hire plot to have her estranged husband killed.

A jury deliberated about 90 minutes following the six-day trial before reaching a verdict against Brenda Joyce Moore of the 2200 block of Rosewood Drive.

Moore, wearing a maroon print dress and black sweater, stood without emotion as the guilty verdict was announced for two counts of solicitation to commit murder.

Judge Maurice W. Baldwin, sitting in for William O. Carr, the trial judge, heard the verdict and ordered a presentence investigation. Judge Baldwin said it would be up to Judge Carr to set a sentencing date.

In closing arguments, Prosecutor Elizabeth Bowen, a Harford assistant state's attorney, characterized the defendant as greedy and spiteful.

She asked the jury to find Moore guilty of soliciting the undercover police officer to kill her husband even if they did not believe the story of the state's key witness, Fred "Tex" Mouton.

Miss Bowen said Moore was motivated by a $50,000 life insurance policy and a $1,100 monthly military pension received by her husband, Robert Lee Moore, a retired sergeant major.

Mr. Moore, 51, retired last fall after 26 years in the Army and began working in a civil service position at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Mr. Moore testified that he was first alerted by Mr. Mouton of Houston, who told him that Moore wanted to have her husband killed.

He said Mr. Mouton had met his estranged wife and had become her friend and lover.

Mr. Moore called police, who contacted Mr. Mouton, investigators said. Mr. Mouton agreed to introduce an undercover officer to Moore as a would-be hit man.

Police tape-recorded telephone and personal conversations between Mr. Mouton, the undercover officer and Moore.

The subject of killing Mr. Moore was never directly mentioned, investigators said, but a voice they identified as Moore's did speak of "baking a cake" and of paying $8,000 for the "ingredients after she had a 'DC.' "

Mr. Mouton said "baking a cake" was a code for killing Mr. Moore and "DC" was her term for a death certificate.

Testifying in her own defense, Moore contended that Mr. Mouton brought up the idea of killing her husband and persuaded her to talk to the undercover deputy.

Moore said she didn't want to have her husband killed, but said she did nothing to warn her estranged husband.

Michele Nowak, a public defender, called her client a pathetic woman with few friends, who wanted to be loved by a man and became the unwitting victim of the smooth-operating Mr. Mouton.

Miss Bowen repeatedly asked the jury to listen to the tape recordings, especially a portion of a conversation Moore had with the undercover officer: "Hear Mrs. Moore say, 'If you're a man and want the money, do it,' and then decide if this is a woman who is pathetic."

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