Murderer blames sex abuse

April 22, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

A Glen Burnie woman who had been sexually abused most of her life was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for shooting to death a woman she believed was molesting the 6-year-old son of a mutual friend.

"The facts are outrageous, as well as the defendant's background," said Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. as he pronounced sentence.

Arletta Mary Moore, 31, pleaded guilty last November to second-degree murder and a handgun charge in the death of Dawn Meyers, 31, who was shot while she worked in the kitchen of the Millersville Inn. Later, Moore told investigators she felt she was killing the people who had abused her as she was growing up.

"She had this smirk on her face," Ms. Moore told Judge Thieme yesterday. "I asked her why she hurt [the 6-year-old boy] and she said 'Because I could.'

"I guess that was the answer I was looking for. I had been raped all my life. I took out the gun."

Moore has been undergoing psychiatric evaluations at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital since her arrest last May.

"You have to feel sorry for her," said a woman who identified herself only as Cheryl and a friend of Ms. Meyers', who was shot twice in the chest about 12:30 p.m. May 31. "She did have a rough life. But Dawn did not deserve to be killed. She was a good mother."

County police investigated the abuse allegations before the shooting, but never found any evidence to support them.

During yesterday's hearing, Dr. Neil H. Blumberg, a defense psychiatrist, testified that Moore had been "tortured" repeatedly by her mother, stepfather and other family members while she was growing up. The family also had a history of mental illness and alcoholism.

Her mother, Dr. Blumberg said, sexually abused her when she was 3. During her youth, Moore had been locked in closets, tied up, tied to a tree and sexually abused by her stepfather, he testified.

When she was between 10 and 14, she developed an imaginary friend called "Cindy" to help her cope with the repeated abuse, he said.

"After her mother physically abused her, she would comfort her by sexually touching her and abusing her," Dr. Blumberg testified. "Dawn Meyers represented all of those people who abused her."

Moore had been admitted several times to hospitals for psychiatric treatment, he said.

When she was 19, she was released from Crownsville State Hospital as an outpatient and lived in Omni House until 1987. In 1988 she enlisted in the Air Force and was raped by two men, he testified.

In June 1991, she gave birth to a son. Prosecutors said she abused the boy by holding him underwater.

She later gave the child up for adoption.

"I gave my baby away because I thought I would hurt it," she said, sobbing. "I did not hold him underwater. I put him in the crib, and I went in the kitchen and started stabbing my arm with a fork because of what I almost did."

Prosecutor Eugene M. Whissel II argued that Moore should receive the maximum 30-year sentence.

"[Ms. Meyers] was the mother of three children who loved her, who are now not with their mother and have to live with their father, whom they have been estranged from most of their lives," he said. "This is a very sad and sorrowful case, but you can't let sympathy overwhelm what she has done."

Robert Waldman, Moore's public defender, argued that Moore does not have a violent past and told Judge Thieme that she would is unlikely to become as violent again.

"After 10 years of incarceration, she will be 41 years old, and she is going to recognize when she is getting out of control," he said.

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