SUPREMES DENY TEXAS A BACK-TO-BACK
The U.S. Supreme Court granted a last-minute reprieve Wednesday to a death row inmate whose attorneys say is mentally retarded.
Curtis Moore, 34, was already in a small holding cell adjacent to the death chamber when he got the news less than three hours before his scheduled execution.
Attorneys claim Moore is mentally retarded. They cited a Virginia case now before the high court questioning the constitutionality of executing the mentally retarded as reason to look at Moore's case.
State prosecutors questioned why the issue should surface now because Moore's mental capacity was not addressed at his trial.
The reprieve will remain in effect until the court decides whether to review Moore's case. If the court refused to review the case, the reprieve would be canceled and a new execution date could be set.
A decision in the Virginia case is expected before July.
Moore was convicted of killing three people in a pair of drug-related shootings in 1995 in Fort Worth. According to information provided by the Texas Attorney General's office, Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, met with Truevillian, Darrel Hoyle and Roderick Moore (no relation) to make a cocaine deal on the night of Nov. 29, 1995. About five minutes after Truevillian, Roderick Moore and Hoyle arrived at the house where the deal was supposed to be made, Curtis and Anthony Moore pulled out guns and robbed the three men. Anthony Moore then tied up the three men and helped Curtis Moore place the three men in Hoyle's car. Hoyle and Truevillian were placed in the trunk of the car, while Roderick Moore was put in the back seat.
Eventually, the two men drove the car to Roderick Moore's house. During his testimony, Hoyle said he heard a gunshot, followed by Roderick Moore's girlfriend LaTanya Boone (who was in the house) screaming. Hoyle said he then assumed Boone and Moore were placed in another car, because he did not hear them again.
At about 2 a.m. on Nov. 30, Curtis Moore stopped the car on Wilbarger Street in southeast Tarrant County. Hoyle testified Moore opened the trunk, shot at him and Truevillian and shut the trunk again. Hoyle testified Truevillian then cried out, "oh, I'm hit."
Curtis Moore opened the trunk again, poured gasoline on Hoyle and Truevillian and used a lighter to ignite the gasoline. Moore attempted to close the trunk, but Hoyle kicked it open.
Hoyle testified he grabbed Truevillian and attempted to flee. Moore caught the two and threatened to kill Hoyle. After Hoyle played dead for a few moments, Moore went back to the car. After Hoyle's car exploded, he testified he saw Moore running toward the highway. In spite of being burned over 60 percent of his body and falling into a six-day coma, Hoyle survived.
The next day, police found the bodies of Boone and Roderick Moore not far from where Truevillian was shot. Armed with Hoyle's statement, Curtis and Anthony Moore were arrested on Dec. 12, 1995. After his arrest, Anthony Moore led police to a 9mm pistol which was later found to have been used in the killing of Boone and Roderick Moore.