Prisoner says Moore admitted killing

`Trigger man' remark in Prothero case is told to Circuit Court judge

March 02, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A jailhouse informant scheduled to testify against Richard Antonio Moore at his trial next month told a Harford County Circuit Court judge yesterday that Moore admitted to being the "trigger man" in the killing last year of police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero.

William T. Silver testified that he baited Moore into a conversation about the shooting by talking about one of Moore's co-defendants while he and Moore were patients in the Baltimore County Detention Center infirmary.

"I just started talking about Troy White and he spoke up," said Silver, 46, of Baltimore.

Prothero, a 35-year-old father of five, was shot three times Feb. 7 as he chased four men after a robbery at J. Brown Jewelers in Pikesville, where he was working a second job as a security guard. Moore is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and assault.

Moore, 30, of Baltimore could receive the death penalty when he is tried, starting April 17, before Circuit Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. in Harford County, where the case was transferred.

Jailhouse discussion

Silver testified that he was awaiting trial on a theft charge and was being treated for stomach pains in the jail infirmary in June when Moore and about 10 other diabetic inmates were brought in for their medication.

Silver, who has since received a diagnosis of colon cancer, testified that word had spread through the jail that White had told police that Richard Moore shot Prothero.

White, whose original name was Antonio Talley, was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery in the slaying and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and a consecutive 45-year term Oct. 17.

Silver testified that he knew White because they grew up in the same West Baltimore neighborhoods.

Silver testified that Moore was reading a book and waiting for his medication when Silver began the conversation by asking a question about White. Silver said he asked a group of inmates in the infirmary why White hadn't fled the area with the jewelry taken in the robbery.

"I directed my question outspokenly," he said.

Silver testified that Moore responded by looking up from his book and saying that White had left the store with the jewelry.

Silver testified that Moore then added that he "shouldn't be telling" on White "even though he [Moore] was the trigger man."

Amanda Bull and Samuel Truette, Moore's lawyers, argued yesterday that Silver's statements should be inadmissible because Moore had asked for a lawyer. They also maintained that Silver was acting as an agent for the police and that use of the statement would violate Moore's right to counsel.

Informing pattern

Silver admitted that he had tried to provide information about other cases to police detectives before his conversation with Moore.

He also said that he was released from jail the day after he spoke with police about the Prothero killing.

His trial on the shoplifting charge is scheduled for March 21 in Catonsville District Court.

Moore's lawyers also argued yesterday that two J. Brown sales clerks should be barred from testifying that Moore was "casing" the store three days before the robbery, when he came in looking for a Rolex watch for his mother.

Plitt is expected to rule on the motions in the next few weeks.

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