Boy, 14, held in rape of woman Victim's neck broken in morning attack in West Baltimore

April 20, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

At age 14, Phillip Eugene Moore was young enough to dream of big things, like the combination microwave-radio-TV-VCR he designed on loose-leaf pages of his blue school binder. In blue ink, he wrote that the contraption would retail for $259.

But city police contend the Calverton Junior High School seventh-grader also was old enough to assault and rape a West Baltimore woman twice his age early Thursday. He did not know the woman, police say.

Phillip, who has been charged as an adult, is accused of first-degree rape and assault with intent to murder. He has yet to be interviewed by police and was being held without bail at Baltimore City Detention Center last night.

The victim was in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center last night with a broken neck, according to a source. Doctors report no signs of paralysis, the source said.

At 4: 50 a.m. Thursday, two troubled lives intersected in the alley behind Gwynn-Parkway Apartments at 2231 Garrison Boulevard, police say. The 29-year-old woman was grabbed from behind, dragged 40 feet down the alley and thrown down a flight of stairs leading to the apartments' basement, police said.

When she curled into a ball to protect herself, she was thrown against the wall and raped, the victim told police. A resident heard screaming and called police, who found Phillip six blocks away and returned him to the scene, where the woman identified him as her attacker, charging documents say.

Apartment residents said the stairway behind their building is a gathering place for prostitutes. The victim was charged with prostitution in late 1994, and her criminal record includes three convictions in the past eight months on drug charges. The Sun does not identify victims of sexual crimes.

Police would not say whether Phillip has a juvenile criminal record. In an interview yesterday at her flower-filled Riggs Avenue rowhouse, his mother, Betty Moore Wells, said the youngest of her six sons had been skipping school and spending time on the streets.

"We don't know what has gotten into Phillip," said Ms. Wells, 49, a nursing assistant. "The teachers all tell him he's a bright kid, but he's getting into lots of fights in school."

Asked whether her child was capable of committing the crime he has been charged with, she paused for 30 seconds. "I don't think so," she said. "It doesn't sound like him to me."

Ms. Wells' youngest son was born Aug. 3, 1981, when she was living in East Baltimore. Phillip rarely sees his father, who lives in the city, his mother said.

Once talkative and bubbly, Phillip, despite being 5 feet 6 and 140 pounds, wanted to play professional football. He did well in school until the 1992 shooting death of his older brother Chris Johnson, then 21, in the city's Irvington neighborhood.

Phillip learned about the death in the hallways of Beechfield Elementary School. He returned from school in tears, took a seat on the front porch and refused to talk.

Ms. Wells says Phillip has rarely talked to her since. His grades quickly dropped and late last year he started staying out all night.

"I would ask him, 'Where was he?' And he would say he called, which we both knew was a lie," she said.

Unable to keep his upstairs bedroom clean, Phillip was moved to the basement last year. It is a dark room, with a cold stone floor and brick walls painted white. He hung nothing on the walls. The decor consists of a TV, an ash tray for his cigarettes, a full-size bed and various multicolored shirts, which hang from the ceiling.

His school papers suggest he knew his lifestyle was dangerous. In a note of apology to a friend, he wrote, "I just don't wanna make any mistakes especially since I wanna be around enough for [his girlfriend], but I guess if I keep going this route it won't happen."

Phillip startled his mother a few weeks ago by presenting her with a collage that she says is the clearest indication of his frame of mind. Using black ink, he filled the page with symbols of knives and snakes, as well as the insignia of the clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger and two rap musicians, Wu-Tang Clan and the Method Man.

Along the lower edge of the paper, he drew a large "C" with the letters RIP inside it, a tribute to his fallen brother; a "P" for himself, "Lil Phil"; and an "M" for "Number One Mom."

The last time Ms. Wells saw Phillip was at 11 p.m. Wednesday, six hours before the rape, when he was talking on the phone at the dining room table. When she went to wake him up for school at 6: 30 a.m., his bed was empty.

She has no plans to visit him in jail. "I just don't feel like talking to Phillip right now," his mother said.

Pub Date: 4/20/96

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