Man accused of having bodies in car has history of drug arrests

He served prison term, is involved in 2001 case

November 12, 2003|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

The man arrested on Interstate 95 in Cecil County last week after two bodies were found in the trunk of the car he was driving has a record of drug charges in New York state, authorities there said yesterday.

James Moore, 39, of Andrews, S.C., served nearly five years in a New York state prison in the mid-1990s for attempting to sell crack cocaine to an undercover police officer, said New York correctional officials. In addition, Westchester County, N.Y., police said yesterday that a warrant was filed Monday in Cecil County for Moore's arrest because he failed to appear at a sentencing hearing in 2001 on an unrelated drug charge.

Moore is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond in the Cecil County Detention Center. The passenger in the car, Porsha L. Harper, 36, of Greensboro, N.C., is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond, according to court records. The pair are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of accessory to murder after the fact, according to court records.

The bodies, which had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, have not been identified, Maryland State Police said. Several investigators on the case were out of the office yesterday for the Veterans Day holiday.

Moore and Harper were arrested Thursday after state police pulled Moore over on I-95 near Elkton for speeding. During the stop, troopers noticed the rear of the car was low to the ground and the back seat full of clothing, court records show. Harper opened the trunk for officers, who discovered the bound and gagged bodies wrapped in plastic under blankets, records show.

Moore was carrying thousands of dollars in cash; some bills appeared to have blood on them, records show.

Charges of being an accessory to murder after the fact were filed late Friday against the pair after Cecil County District Judge Stephen J. Baker, who was hearing the bail review, expressed concerns about the evidence available to support the first-degree murder charges, said State's Attorney Christopher Eastridge.

Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said this week that investigators are trying to piece together information about the suspects.

According to James Flateau, New York State Department of Correctional Services spokesman, Moore was arrested and charged in February 1990 by the New Rochelle Police Department in an undercover drug operation. He served four years and 10 months for the felony conviction and was released from state prison in June 1994, Flateau said.

Details of the 2001 case were not immediately available from New Rochelle police. But Lt. Donald McArthur, spokesman for the Westchester County police, said Moore pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in Westchester Superior Court in 2001 and failed to appear for sentencing Oct. 26, 2001.

Sun staff writer Amanda Angel contributed to this article.

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