Parolee pleads guilty in attack

April 05, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A man who has a 30-year history of sexual assaults pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of insanity yesterday for an assault on a Guilford woman that was thwarted by three bystanders last August.

Thurman Alexander Moore, 47, of Guilford, entered into a plea agreement in Howard Circuit Court for a first-degree sexual offense, third-degree sexual offense and a daytime housebreaking charge for the Aug. 31 incident.

Moore, of the 9400 block of Guilford Road, was released from prison two weeks before the assault after serving most of a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old Columbia girl in 1974, according to court and state parole records.

In 1960, he was convicted of assault with intent to rape. In 1962, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison on another charge of assault with intent to rape.

As part of the plea agreement, Moore is permitting Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. to determine whether he is not criminally responsible for attacking the woman in her home.

Moore could be sentenced to life in prison if he is found criminally responsible for the attack. Otherwise, he could be held at a mental institution until he is found not to be a threat to himself or others.

Testimony in the case continues today.

During yesterday's proceedings, Assistant Public Defender Avery Berdit argued that his client suffers from numerous personality and sexual disorders that he could not control without medication, treatment and supervision.

"Thurman Moore is not a product of sanity," Mr. Berdit said. "He is a product of structure. . . . Thurman Moore, in an unstructured environment, was out of control."

Mr. Berdit said experts will testify that Moore was taking an anti-psychotic drug called trilafon to control his disorders. Without the medication, the attorney said, Moore became delusional and impulsive.

Mr. Berdit said Moore had gone without trilafon for at least 11 days before the incident.

But Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kate O'Donnell countered that trilafon is not used to control behavior.

Instead, it is only prescribed to ease anxiety, she said.

Ms. O'Donnell said the prosecution's specialists will testify that Moore has several disorders, but none are severe enough to meet the standards to declare the defendant as not criminally responsible.

Seven witnesses were called to testify for Moore yesterday, including Joseph Parks, Moore's parole officer from the county Department of Parole and Probation.

Mr. Parks testified about Moore's statements at a hearing before the state Parole Commission after his arrest. The commission later revoked his parole.

"[Moore] said 'I don't do these things because I want to. I'm a sick man,' " Mr. Parks testified.

Mr. Parks noted that the state Division of Correction did not set any conditions for Moore after his release from jail.

He added that he was not aware of Moore's disorders.

Under cross-examination by Ms. O'Donnell, Mr. Parks testified that he talked to Moore on the morning of the incident, but Moore never mentioned that he was out of medication.

"I didn't detect anything wrong," Mr. Parks said.

Another witness was William Burley, a 60-year-old Jessup man who runs Burley's Bar-B-Q stand near the victim's home and who helped rescue the woman.

Mr. Burley said he and two women ran to the victim's house, where they could hear her screams for help. Mr. Burley said he grabbed a 4-foot stick from a neighbor and entered the victim's home.

Mr. Burley said Moore did not resist him when he ordered him out of the house and to lie face down in the yard.

He said he held the stick at the man's neck until police arrived.

Mr. Burley testified that he first noticed Moore standing across from his business shortly before the incident, watching him and a woman who reported that Moore had stopped her while she was driving and asked her for a ride.

Mr. Burley, whose stand is across from Guilford Elementary School, said he told a crossing guard to warn women to avoid Moore. Mr. Burley said he knew Moore was a paroled rapist.

Moore, wearing sunglasses and a straw hat, then sat under a tree, where he watched the 30-year-old victim as she returned home from walking her daughter to kindergarten, Mr. Burley said.

After a few minutes, Mr. Burley said he and the crossing guard saw Moore go to the woman's house, where the prosecution says he asked to use the phone before forcing his way inside and threatening to kill the woman's infant son.

"Is that normal behavior?" Mr. Berdit asked Mr. Burley of Moore's actions.

"To me, it wasn't," Mr. Burley responded. "I would say it's not normal behavior."

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