During the early morning hours of Nov. 3, 2000, a subdued, "paranoid" Frederick James Moore, his boots and jeans covered in blood, returned to the townhouse where he had partied with friends earlier and said he and Scott Jory Brill had killed 14-year-old Ashley Nicole Mason behind a Columbia Pizza Hut, one of the friends testified yesterday.
While Brill boasted about the killing, Moore seemed concerned about finding the knife used to stab the girl, Martice Stewart told jurors during the third day of testimony in Moore's murder trial.
"He said he threw it and couldn't find it and wanted to go look for it," Stewart said.
Moore, 22, is being tried in Howard County Circuit Court this week on a charge of first-degree murder in Ashley's death. Brill, 19, convicted of first-degree murder in the case last fall, awaits sentencing.
Because Moore gave no statement to police, prosecutors needed witnesses who could advance Moore's role in Ashley's death from witness to participant. Brill told investigators that he choked Ashley and stabbed her once "after she was dead."
Moore's attorney, Sheldon Mazelis, has suggested that Brill was the lone killer.
On Wednesday, prosecutors Michael Rexroad and Kim Oldham presented testimony from one of Moore's cousins, Danielle Ritter, who said Moore told her "we" killed Ashley, but she did not elaborate.
More detailed account
Stewart's testimony offered a more detailed account.
Moore, Brill and Ashley were at Stewart's home in Oakland Mills, partying in the basement. When Ashley began complaining, asking to go home, Brill punched her in the face, Stewart said.
Stewart said he offered to call Ashley a cab, but she went with Brill and Moore. Brill was wearing a pullover sweater; Moore was wearing a nylon hair covering called a "do-rag" and butter-colored Timberland boots.
The two men returned later and rushed in, Stewart said. Brill was no longer wearing the sweater, and Moore wasn't wearing the do-rag, he said.
Smeared with blood
Moore's boots and pants were smeared with blood, Stewart said. Two do-rags were later found hanging in brush near Ashley's body in the woods behind the Pizza Hut at Route 108 and Bendix Road.
It was then that the two men said they had killed her, he said.
On cross-examination, Mazelis grilled Stewart about Brill's role and asked about scratch marks Stewart said he had seen on Brill's arms. It looked as if Brill "was in some kind of tussle or something," Stewart said.
When Mazelis asked if it were true that Moore never talked about the killing, Stewart insisted that Moore and Brill had discussed Ashley's death.
Stewart testified that Moore "said certain details of the murder. He just didn't say as much as Scott did."
In other testimony yesterday, Robin Cotton, a DNA expert, testified that Moore was the primary source of the DNA found on the two do-rags found in the brush.
Under cross-examination, she said the testing also showed secondary sources of DNA on the coverings and that she could not tell who was wearing them when Ashley was killed.
Testimony is scheduled to resume this morning.