Maryland's intermediate appellate court upheld the murder conviction this week of Frederick James Moore, one of two men charged and convicted in the high-profile stabbing and strangulation of Ashley Nicole Mason, 14, whose body was found in woods behind a Columbia Pizza Hut in 2000.
Moore, 24, had argued that the trial court erred by not ordering the public defender's office to pay for the services of a DNA expert at trial and by not allowing him to introduce testimony that the other man charged in the case, Scott Jory Brill, had been violent in the past.
But a three-judge panel on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that because Moore had retained a private attorney to represent him throughout the trial, he was not "indigent" and therefore not eligible for public money to pay for an expert. Moore said that while he had enough money to pay for independent DNA analysis, he did not have the funds to pay an expert to testify at trial.
The panel also ruled that allegations of past assaults by Brill, 21, were "not relevant" to the Mason case.
Both men were convicted of first-degree murder after separate trials and sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the killing.
Both men had been at a party with Ashley, a Long Reach High School freshman, before her death, according to testimony. Witnesses testified that Moore told them he killed the teen-ager, and Brill told investigators that he choked her but not "all the way" and stabbed her once "after she was dead," according to testimony.
Her body was discovered in woods at Route 108 and Bendix Road on Nov. 3.