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YOUNGSTOWN Teen's sentence is cut to 112 years



Published: Wed, September 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The appeals court limited the judge to four gun specification sentences.

By ROGER G. SMITH

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Brandon Moore is a teenager who has had 29 years sliced off his kidnapping, rape and robbery sentence, thanks to an appeals court.

Moore, 19, now has a sentence of 112 years in prison instead of the 141 years he was sentenced to three years ago.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum issued the new sentence Wednesday. The 7th District Court of Appeals ordered a new sentencing in June of Moore and two others convicted of the brutal kidnapping, rape and robbery of a young Boardman woman at gunpoint in August 2001 in Youngstown.

The appeals court said Judge Krichbaum erred when he included sentencing on firearms specifications on 10 counts against Moore. Instead, the appeals court said the judge was limited to four gun specification sentences.

For example, Moore was convicted on six rape counts. The appeals court said only one gun specification sentence applied to those six charges. Judge Krichbaum originally sentenced Moore on six gun specifications on the six rape convictions.

Judge's view

Judge Krichbaum said it was hard to imagine how Moore could be guilty of each crime yet not be sentenced on the gun specifications that were part of each one. Each count was a separate crime that involved a gun and should have been sentenced that way, he said.

The judge said he disagreed with the appellate court's opinion but nonetheless was obligated to follow the court's directive.

The appeals court also dismissed a count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery over an issue concerning the indictment, so Moore avoided a sentence on that charge.

Ellen Taylor of the Family Service Agency's rape information and counseling program read a written statement from the victim, who couldn't be in court.

Impact on victim

The woman reiterated from the first sentencing how she -- at 22 years old -- had lost her job, her schooling, athletics and a relationship because of the crime, in addition to her trust in people and joy in her life.

She added that since then she has married, has a job, a home and friends. She said she still lives in fear of her attackers, however, and wanted them in prison for the maximum term.

"I'm sorry she had to relive any of this," Judge Krichbaum said.

Offers apology

Moore, who was silent at the first sentencing because an appeal was to be filed, this time apologized for his role in the crime and to the victim, his family and the court.

"I did some dumb stuff," he said.

He said he has tried to mature in prison and is trying to improve himself despite a sentence of life in prison.

Moore's mother, Angela, apologized to the victim for what her son did and accepted some of the blame. She asked for mercy because her son was 15 when he committed the crimes.

Moore's lawyer, Damian A. Billak, said Moore has heart problems that have included surgery and several hospitalizations. Billak suggested a beating Moore took from Michael Budd, former Mahoning County Sheriff's Department major, after the conviction contributed to the heart problems. Budd was convicted in July of beating two inmates and covering up another beating.

Billak argued for minimum sentences.

Judge Krichbaum reviewed the brutal nature of the crimes and said they make the case for maximum sentences.

"The defendant took the soul of this young lady," he said. "In 30 years in criminal law, I can't see how any offense could be worse."

rgsmith@vindy.com




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