Jury deadlocks in trial of Army sergeant accused of robbery

November 02, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A Howard County Circuit Court jury deadlocked yesterday after the two-day trial of an Army sergeant accused of robbing a Florida man in a Route 1 hotel last winter.

The panel of six men and six women deliberated for 3 1/2 hours yesterday, returning at 3:30 p.m.

The vote was 11-to-1 in favor of convicting Sgt. John Easter Moore Jr.

Joseph Murtha, senior assistant state's attorney, said the jury's vote showed there was sufficient evidence for a conviction.

"It's encouraging," he said. "As a result, we will retry the case on the same evidence."

A new trial date has not been set. Sergeant Moore -- who is charged with armed robbery, burglary, weapons violations and battery -- is being held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup on $250,000 bond.

An emergency medical technician at Fort Meade, Sergeant Moore, 26, of the 8000 block of Millstone Court in Severn, could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

"I'm disappointed the jury did not acquit," said George A. Epstein, a Baltimore attorney who is representing Sergeant Moore.

"But I'm hopeful he'll be acquitted after a retrial."

The victim of the robbery, Fred Worthington of Port St. Lucie, Fla., could not be reached for comment yesterday at his home.

Mr. Worthington and his wife testified in the Ellicott City courtroom Monday, then flew home around noon yesterday as the jury deliberated.

County police say that two men wearing ski masks forced their way into Mr. Worthington's room at the Red Roof Inn in the 8000 block of Washington Blvd. about 9 p.m. Feb. 5.

The robbers hit him on the head with a gun, tied him up and put him in the bathtub while they made a collect call to Mr. Worthington's wife, ordering her to tell them the personal identification number of her husband's credit cards.

Sergeant Moore was arrested that night at an automated teller machine near the hotel. Police say he was wearing a ski mask.

Mr. Epstein contends that it was by coincidence that Sergeant Moore was near the ATM when police arrived.

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