Moore trial set to begin

Baltimore man is fourth to face court in killing of Prothero

Death penalty possible

State seeks to prove defendant shot off-duty officer

April 16, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Prosecutors have never had to prove who shot and killed Baltimore County Police Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero outside J. Brown Jewelers in Pikesville last year. But at Richard Moore's trial, which is scheduled to start tomorrow in Harford County Circuit Court, prosecutors will use a jailhouse informant, ballistics reports and DNA evidence to try to convince a jury that he did.

Moore, 30, of Baltimore is charged as the shooter and could face the death penalty in the killing of Prothero, a 35-year-old father of five. Prothero was shot three times Feb. 7, 2000, as he chased four men after a robbery at the store, where he was working a second job as a security guard.

For a death sentence, state law requires that prosecutors prove Moore shot Prothero.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst declined to discuss details of the case last week but said the state has solid evidence to show Moore fired the fatal shots.

Much of the case against Moore is contained in court files and was presented as evidence in the trials of three co-defendants - Moore's half-brother Wesley Moore, Donald Antonio White Jr. and Troy White - and at pretrial hearings.

Prosecution and defense lawyers also have ballistics experts prepared to testify.

Richard Moore entered the store armed with a semi-automatic handgun and smashed jewelry cases, according to testimony at Wesley Moore's trial. DNA tests show that he left blood at the scene, according to the testimony.

A jailhouse informant, William T. Silver, 46, of Baltimore also is expected to testify that, while he and Richard Moore were awaiting treatment in the Baltimore County Detention Center infirmary in June, Moore acknowledged shooting Prothero.

Silver, who was facing a theft charge at the time, testified last month in Harford County Circuit Court that he baited Moore into a conversation about the shooting by talking about Troy White.

Silver testified that he asked a group of inmates why White hadn't fled from the Baltimore area and that Moore said something about White's involvement. Moore added that he "shouldn't be telling" on White "even though he [Moore] was the trigger man," according to Silver's testimony.

Wesley Moore was convicted of first-degree felony murder April 2. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 5 by Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr.

Donald Antonio White Jr., 19, and Troy White, also known as Antonio Marcell Talley, 23, both of Baltimore, each were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the fall after they were convicted by separate juries of first-degree felony murder, armed robbery, assault and handgun charges.

All three were convicted under the state's felony murder statute, which means that the state had to prove that they participated in the robbery that resulted in the killing.

Moore's trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection tomorrow before Harford County Circuit Judge Emory A. Plitt Jr. The trial was moved to Harford County at Moore's request and is expected to last two to three weeks.

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