Prosecutors oppose suppression of earlier murder
Alliance man charged in ’09 death of 16-year-old Glenna J. White
YOUNGSTOWN — Prosecutors are opposing the attempt of aggravated murder defendant Robert L. Moore of Alliance to stop a jury from hearing about the murder Moore committed in 1993.
Moore, 51, is in the Mahoning County jail. He is charged in the June 2009 aggravated murder of Glenna J. White, 16, of Smith Township, after White left a home in Alliance with Moore and was never seen again. Her body has never been found.
Moore was indicted Dec. 16 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court of the aggravated murder and murder of White, both charges with a specification of Moore being a repeat violent offender.
Moore’s attorney, Jeffrey Haupt of Alliance, filed a motion Jan. 4 asking Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to suppress evidence at trial of what are called “other acts, wrongs or uncharged misconduct” in Moore’s past.
The filing states that improperly admitted evidence of other crimes “often results in reversal of criminal convictions.” Such evidence is prohibited except when “other acts provide identity through evidence of a modus operandi of the crime charged,” the defense filing states.
Such acts must be similar to the crime charged, and so unique that “it provides a behavioral fingerprint, which, when compared to the behavioral fingerprints associated with the crime in question, can be used to identify the defendant as the perpetrator,” the filing states.
It quotes the Ohio Supreme Court in stating: “We must be careful when considering evidence as proof of identify to recognize the distinction between evidence which shows that a defendant is the type of person who might commit a particular crime and evidence which shows that a defendant is the person who committed a particular crime.”
“Evidence that shows that a defendant is the type of person to commit the crime charged is inadmissible” under Ohio law, it states.
A hearing on motions, including the suppression issue, is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday.
In 1993, Moore was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Virginia Lecorchick, 22, who was beaten to death, according to a news release from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the White killing as a cold case.
Lecorchick’s body was found by swimmers in Berlin Lake on July 10, 1993, near Willow Point in Lexington Township, Stark County.
A filing Tuesday by Mike Yacovone, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor, states evidence regarding Moore’s confessed killing of Lecorchick should be allowed into the White trial — because the circumstances of Lecorchick’s killing are extremely similar to the details investigators uncovered in the White case.
White, 16, was at a home on Alden Avenue in Alliance late June 2, 2009, and into the early hours of June 3, 2009, with her boyfriend, Charles Shreve; Charles Shreve’s mother; Deanna Shreve; and Moore, who was Deanna’ Shreve’s boyfriend, the prosecution filing states.
Moore and White were reportedly drinking. At some point, White woke up others in the home with the allegation that Moore had touched her inappropriately or tried to rape her, the filing states.
Moore then “demanded to take (White) home, left with her in Deanna Shreve’s car, and was gone for over an hour, returning without her,” the filing alleges.
“Upon his return, he was reportedly ‘covered in blood spatter from the waist up’ with ‘so much blood spatter on Bobby that you could not see his tattoos,'” the filing states, quoting from notes in the case written by Portage County detectives. Portage County Sheriff’s detective Ed Kennedy began the investigation while working on a Portage County case.
Moore also was muddy from the knees down on his pajama pants, the filing states.
On June 11, 2009, firefighters responded to the Alden address for a vehicle fire. The vehicle Moore had driven when he left with White caught fire in the driveway and was a “complete loss,” the filing states.
Moore was in prison or jail in the from 1993 until July 1, 2008,. in the Lecorchick case — 11 months before the disappearance of White, the filing notes.
The details of the Lecorchick killing bear much resemblance to the details of White’s disappearance, including allegations of Moore’s advances being spurned, Yacovone states.
In Moore’s July 11, 1993, confession, he said he was drinking at a tavern when he encountered Lecorchick. She went with him to the lake to “have a couple of beers.” Then Moore asked her if she wanted to have sex. She said no and ran away, so Moore followed and caught her, then “jumped on her then I just started hitting her” with his hands, the filing states, quoting from a transcript.
Moore told investigators he threw Lecorchick into the lake, getting his boots and pants wet almost up to his groin area. He said he burned his boots and clothes, the filing states.
The Ohio Supreme Court set forth guidelines that must be met if a defendant’s “other acts” are allowed to be introduced in a trial, the filing states. They are that there must be substantial proof that the alleged “other acts” were committed by the defendant and that the evidence would “tend to prove motive, opportunity, intent, preparation plan, knowledge, identity or absence of mistake or accident,” the filing states.
Providing a jury with the facts of the Lecorchick murder would show that White’s murder was not a mistake or accident, the filing states. They would show that Moore’s “state of mind is to render women lifeless to eradicate report of his sexual advances,” the filing states.
“He dumps their bodies. He burns any remaining evidence. His intent is to cover up a crime. As the other acts evidence demonstrates this modus operandi was utilized in 1993.”
Haupt’s filing says there is no evidence of Moore’s prior acts that can be admitted at the trial.
“Any evidence of the defendant’s other acts of misconduct is wholly irrelevant to this case.” He added, “Further, even if tangentially relevant on a particular issue, the danger of unfair prejudice far outweighs the (corroborating) value of such evidence and therefore must be prohibited.”