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Judge to allow fire evidence

Glenna J. White went missing in 2009

Robert L. Moore, left, sits next to his attorney, Jeffrey Haupt, on Monday prior to the start of jury selection in Moore’s trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Moore is charged with aggravated murder in the 2009 disappearance of Glenna J. White, 16, of Smith Township.

YOUNGSTOWN — Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court has ruled prosecutors can present evidence regarding a car fire that took place about a week after Glenna J. White, 16, of Smith Township disappeared June 2, 2009.

Prosecutors say White left a home on Alden Avenue near Alliance that day in a car driven by Robert L. Moore and disappeared. Her body was never found. About a week after she disappeared, a fire destroyed the car.

Sweeney ruled Friday information about the fire can be presented during the trial, but the judge cautioned prosecutors must not suggest to jurors Moore started the fire. She said one reason for allowing information about the fire is “to explain to the jury why no” evidence was processed from the car. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

A jury was seated Monday in Moore’s aggravated murder trial, which is expected to last more than a week. Moore, 52, of Alliance, is charged with aggravated murder and murder in White’s disappearance. The trial will resume today with opening statements and testimony.

Prosecutors have said the Alden address was where Moore’s girlfriend, Deanna Shreve, lived and White was the girlfriend of Moore’s girlfriend’s son, Charles Shreve. They allege Moore took White in a 2000 Hyundai station wagon from the home and returned an hour later alone with blood spatter on his clothing.

Prosecutors have said the Sebring Fire Department went to the home June 11 and Moore was in the driveway with the “fully engulfed vehicle.” Mike Yacovone, assistant prosecutor, told Sweeney in a filing a witness will testify after Moore returned to the Alden home after driving White away, he went in the house, then back out, changed his pants and came back inside.

Yacovone stated that it’s important for the jurors to know the fire destroyed “a major piece of evidence (the station wagon) as well as all that it contained (clothing, blood, debris, etc.) mere days after the disappearance of Glenna Jean White.”

Attorney Jeffrey Haupt of Alliance, who represents Moore, stated in a filing it’s important to note Moore was seen “with a hose, making every effort to extinguish the fire.” Haupt also stated a family friend of White saw White alive in May 2010 and the friend and White even “spoke to one another about Ms. White running away and the impact it had on her family.”

During jury selection Monday, Yacovone said he expected about 25 witnesses to take part during the trial.

At the prosecution table Monday was Portage County Sheriff’s Office detective Ed Kennedy, who investigated White’s disappearance as a cold case after receiving a tip in June 2020 while investigating the disappearance of another teen — Kathy Menendez — in 1994. Menendez also disappeared from the Alliance area, and her body was found near the Berlin Reservoir at the edge of Portage County.

Moore is not a suspect in Menendez’s murder because he was in prison at the time, Kennedy has said.

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