Man who committed brutal 2001 rape at 15 to be released at 65
By Justin Wier
After the victim of a 2001 rape and kidnapping asked Judge Maureen A. Sweeney to ensure her rapist would not be able to hurt others, the judge imposed a 50-year sentence.
Brandon Moore, 32, who has been incarcerated since 2001, will remain in prison until he is 65 years old.
“I know he won’t hurt anyone else,” the victim said. “I think that’s what’s important to me.”
Moore was back in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for resentencing after a 2016 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court vacated his 112-year sentence.
The high court ruled that sentencing a juvenile convicted of a nonhomicide offense to a sentence that exceeds his or her life expectancy constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
The decision drew on the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision Graham v. Florida, which determined life sentences for juveniles convicted of nonhomicide offenses are cruel and unusual.
Moore and three friends kidnapped the then-21-year-old victim after a robbery and took her to a gravel lot where Moore and Chaz Bunch took turns raping her.
She was the third person Moore robbed that night.
The victim, who is now 38, told the court that Moore and his friends forever altered her life.
“As Brandon Moore started his sentence behind bars, I started a sentence as well. My prison was my mind,” she said.
She struggled for most of her adult life with an eating disorder and has three scars left by Moore and his co-defendants that remind her of her trauma.
In addition to that, she said she learned that there are people in the world capable of doing the things Moore did.
“I could not escape the terror and fear of Brandon Moore and his voice inside my head,” she told the court.
Moore also addressed the court. He said he was genuinely lost at 15 and prison has saved his life.
“I was truly a boy acting as a man,” Moore said. “I didn’t appreciate life. I didn’t appreciate my victims and their families and what they were going through. I didn’t appreciate anything.”
Atty. Lynn Maro, who represented Moore, said she believes he feels genuine remorse. When she asked him about making a statement at sentencing, she said he told her he doesn’t have the right to speak the victim’s name or to look at her.
Moore’s criminal history began after the murder of his father at age 10, which followed the drowning death of his brother, Maro said.
The victim told the court she feels for the 10-year-old Moore, and after the hearing she said she was glad the adult Moore had an opportunity to apologize.
“I know Brandon Moore is a human being, and I do believe in second chances,” she said.
In her argument, Maro noted that Moore initially signed a plea agreement in 2002 that would have guaranteed him a 46-year sentence, but he backed out of the agreement after inmates in the Mahoning County jail pressured him.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum then sentenced Moore to 141 years following his trial.
That was reduced to a 112-year sentence on appeal.
Bunch, 33 now and 17 at the time of the rape, also will receive a resentencing hearing after the resolution of a matter before the 7th District Court of Appeals. Judge Krichbaum initially sentenced Bunch to a 115-year sentence that was reduced to 80 years on appeal.