Thu, Jan 15, 2009 - Page 7 News List

First US execution of the year set for today

RETARDED SENTENCE Curtis Moore was scheduled to be killed by lethal injection this evening, more than 13 years after he killed three in a pair of drug-ripoff robberies

AP , HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS

Curtis Moore’s first run-in with the criminal justice system came at age 12 as a runaway and he kept getting into worse trouble as he got older.

His rap sheet showed convictions for theft, robbery and weapon and drug possession that earned him prison terms. In an era of overcrowded Texas prisons that abbreviated sentences, he repeatedly was released, then returned to prison with parole violations.

He finally ended up on death row, convicted of the slayings of three people during a pair of drug-ripoff robberies more than 13 years ago in Fort Worth. Moore, 40, was set to die this evening.

He’d be the first condemned inmate executed this year in the US and among six to die in Huntsville over 15 days in the nation’s most active death penalty state. Two are set for injection next week.

Moore’s appeals were exhausted and lawyers cited his possible mental retardation as reason the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles should commute his sentence to life in prison.

Moore already made one trip to the Huntsville death house. In 2002, less than three hours before he was to receive lethal injection, the US Supreme Court stopped his scheduled execution so claims from his attorneys that he was mentally retarded and ineligible for execution could be reviewed. In October, the high court refused his appeal, clearing the way for today’s execution date to be set.

Moore was arrested for a pair of shootings on Nov. 30, 1995.

Roderick Moore, 24, who was not related to him, and LaTanya Boone, 21, were found shot to death in a roadside ditch across from a Texas elementary school.

The same night, Darrel Hoyle, 21, and Henry Truevillain, 20, were found shot and burned by firefighters summoned to put out a car fire. Truevillian was dead but Hoyle survived and helped lead police to the arrest of Moore and his nephew, Anthony Moore, then 17.

Testimony at Curtis Moore’s trial showed the shootings culminated a drug ripoff, that he doused Hoyle and Truevillain with gasoline and ignited them as they were bound and in the trunk of a car parked in a deserted lot. Hoyle regained consciousness six days later and gave information that led authorities to Anthony Moore.

Curtis Moore was arrested about two weeks later, his hands and arms still showing burns suffered when authorities said he tried to keep Hoyle from fleeing the flames.

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