Man held criminally responsible for attack on Guilford woman

May 06, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A man with a history of more than 30 years of sexual offenses and mental disorders was held criminally responsible yesterday in an attack on a woman in her Guilford home last summer.

Thurman Alexander Moore, 47, could be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the Aug. 31 attack. He had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

Howard Circuit Judge Cornelius Sybert Jr. issued a ruling yesterday, saying that attorneys for Moore did not meet the burden of showing that Moore's disorders were so severe that he couldn't obey the law on the day of the incident.

Judge Sybert said he based his ruling on four days of testimony at a hearing in April, when 10 defense witnesses and nine prosecution witnesses testified about Moore's mental condition. To clear Moore of criminal responsibility, Judge Sybert said, the evidence presented by the defense would have had to outweigh evidence presented by the prosecution. Because defense attorneys did not sway him, the judge said, he had to rule in the prosecution's favor.

At the hearing in April, Assistant Public Defender Avery Berdit urged Judge Sybert to examine his client's history, which includes three convictions for sexual assaults.

Mr. Berdit said doctors found that since he was a youth Moore has suffered from numerous disorders, including schizophrenia, uncontrollable sexual impulses, psychotic episodes and delusions.

A new report stated that Moore has a disorder called schizo-affective personality, a combination of depression, delusions and schizophrenia. The report also showed Moore suffers from sexual sadism, persecutory delusions and a personality disorder.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kate 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.

Moore had pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible to a first-degree sexual offense, a third-degree sexual offense and $ $TC daytime housebreaking charge in the attack.

Moore went to the victim's house after seeing her walk home from taking her daughter to Guilford Elementary School. Moore forced his way into the woman's house, repeatedly struck her and then sexually assaulted her, according to court testimony. The attack was stopped by three citizens who heard the woman's cries. Moore, of the 9400 block of Guilford Road, had been released from prison about six weeks before the attack after serving most of a 25-year sentence for kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old Columbia girl in 1974.

In 1960, he was convicted of assault with intent to rape and sentenced to a two-year prison term at the Hagerstown Correctional Institution. In 1962, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison on another charge of assault with intent to rape.

Judge Sybert will sentence Moore June 1.

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