Contrasting portraits of a woman's attacker

April 08, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A Howard Circuit Court judge was presented with two pictures yesterday of Thurman Alexander Moore, a 47-year-old man jailed most of his life for sexual offenses who has pleaded guilty to the assault of a Guilford woman.

Moore's attorney described him as a man so overwhelmed by sexual and personality disorders that he could not stop himself when he went to the woman's home and assaulted her in front of her 7-month-old son last August.

But the prosecutor contended that Moore was guilty of repeated crimes, a man who plotted his way into the victim's townhouse and then tried to hide when three bystanders came to her aid upon hearing cries for help.

Those are the closing statements Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. heard about Moore, a Guilford man who has pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of insanity for the Aug. 31 attack.

Moore, of the 9400 block of Guilford Road, was released from prison about six weeks before the assault after serving most of a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old Columbia girl in 1974.

If Judge Sybert holds Moore criminally responsible for a first-degree sexual offense, a third-degree sexual offense and a daytime housebreaking charge, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

But if the judge finds that Moore is not responsible for the incident, he will be held at a mental institution until he is no longer thought to be a threat to society or himself.

Judge Sybert must determine whether Moore can act in accordance with the law and whether he knew his actions were wrong on the day of the incident. Judge Sybert said he will announce his ruling April 28.

Avery Berdit, an assistant public defender for Moore, urged Judge Sybert to examine his client's history, which includes three convictions for sexual assaults.

Mr. Berdit said doctors found that Moore has suffered from numerous disorders since he was a youth. A 1960 evaluation determined that he had schizophrenia, and other evaluations showed he suffered from uncontrollable sexual impulses, psychotic episodes and delusions.

A report by Lawrence Donner, a psychologist from Baltimore hired by the public defender's office to examine Moore, stated that he has a disorder called schizo-affective personality, a combination of depression, delusions and schizophrenia.

Dr. Donner said he believes Moore also suffers from sexual sadism, persecutory delusions and a personality disorder.

Mr. Berdit acknowledged that Moore knew his actions were wrong, although it was impossible for him to keep his actions within the law. He argued that Moore could not function after running out of medication and losing the structure of prison.

"He was running on empty," the attorney said. "On Aug. 31, 1993, he broke down. . . . This crime was going to happen because Thurman Moore was out of control."

But Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kate O'Donnell urged Judge Sybert to examine Moore's actions on the day of the incident.

She noted that testimony showed that Moore talked to his parole officer on the morning of the incident, but never indicated that he was having problems or that he was running out of medication.

The prosecutor added that Moore reported that he later smoked marijuana and drank wine with a relative. He then headed for the Columbia Mall but stopped near Guilford Elementary School, a short distance from the victim's house.

After seeing the victim walking home after taking her daughter to the school, Moore followed her to her house.

Ms. O'Donnell charged that Moore tricked the woman by giving her a false name, saying he needed to use her telephone because his car broke down nearby, and assuring her that he wasn't going to harm her.

"It was coordinated," the prosecutor said. "It was designed to take [the victim's] guard down so he could get into her house and commit a crime."

Ms. O'Donnell agreed that Moore has some disorders, such as sexual sadism and anti-social personality disorder, but none are so serious that he could not have stopped himself from attacking the woman.

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