An Edgewood woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week in Harford Circuit Court for her role in a murder-for-hire plot to have her estranged husband killed last February.
On Sept. 29 a jury deliberated 90 minutes in convicting Brenda Joyce Moore, 35, of the 2200 block of Rosewood Drive. The jury had heard testimony that Moore paid $8,000 to an undercover deputy sheriff, believing he was a hit man from Atlantic City who already had shot her husband, Robert Lee Moore.
Moore, members of her family and a close friend cried as Judge William O. Carr told the defendant that she had been an active participant in soliciting the deputy to kill Mr. Moore.
"You knew it was wrong, you could have said no, but you drove a hard bargain with the undercover officer," said Judge Carr. "You were very clever never to mention the words 'murder' or 'kill' [in taped conversations] with the officer."
Moore was convicted of two counts of solicitation to commit murder.
The maximum penalty for each count is 20 years, but Judge Carr made both sentences concurrent, suspended all but 15 years and ordered three years of probation after she has served her sentence.
At the request of Prosecutor M. Elizabeth Bowen, Judge Carr also ordered that the $8,000 Moore had paid in the plot be forfeited to the county.
Mr. Moore, 51, retired last fall after 26 years in the Army and works in a civil service position at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
"I am fortunate to be alive," he said Tuesday. "I can feel more comfortable now because the judicial system worked."
Public defenders Michele Nowak and Francis J. Henninger, co-counsels for the defendant, said they will appeal Moore's lTC conviction for various reasons, including the belief that there were grounds for a mistrial because they contend at least one juror saw Moore led through the courthouse in handcuffs and leg shackles during a recess.
Judge Carr had denied their motion for a new trial before yesterday's sentencing, saying the jurors certainly knew Moore was in court for some reason.
During the trial, Mr. Moore testified that he was first alerted by Fred "Tex" Mouton, of Houston, who told him that Moore wanted to have her husband killed.
He said Mr. Mouton had met his estranged wife and had become her friend and lover.
Mr. Moore said he called police, who contacted Mr. Mouton.
Investigators said Mr. Mouton cooperated with them and introduced an undercover deputy sheriff to Moore as a would-be hit man.
Police then tape-recorded telephone and personal conversations between Moore, Mr. Mouton and the undercover officer.
Once the deal was made, police then visited Moore to tell her Mr. Moore had been shot dead in an apparent robbery.
Moore then went to the parking lot of an Edgewood convenience store to pay the undercover officer and was arrested.
Murdering Mr. Moore never was directly mentioned, investigators said.
A voice they identified as the defendant's did speak of "baking a cake" and of paying $8,000 for the ingredients after she had a "DC."
Mr. Mouton said "baking a cake" was a code for killing Mr. Moore and "DC" was Moore's term for a death certificate.
Moore contended killing her husband was Mr. Mouton's idea and that he had persuaded her to talk to would-be hit man.
Prosecutors argued that Moore wanted her husband dead so she could collect a $50,000 life insurance policy and his $1,100 monthly military pension. If the couple had divorced, she could not have collected, they said.