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State v. Moore

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 27, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
RONALD DOUGLAS MOORE JR.

          On Appeal from The 22nd Judicial District Court, Parish of St. Tammany, State of Louisiana Trial Court No. 594814 The Honorable Peter J. Garcia, Judge Presiding

          Warren L. Montgomery District Attorney J. Bryant Clark Jr. Assistant District Attorney Covington, Louisiana Attorneys for Appellee, State of Louisiana

          Prentice L. White Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/Appellant, Ronald Douglas Moore Jr.

          BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., GUIDRY, AND CRAIN, JJ.

          CRAIN, J.

         The defendant, Ronald D. Moore Jr., was found guilty of first degree rape and aggravated burglary. See La. R.S. 14:42A and 14:60A(3). For first degree rape, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. He was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor for aggravated burglary, with both sentences to run concurrently. The defendant appeals. We affirm.

         FACTS

         On the night of August 4, 2017, P.R., a 53 year-old female, was home alone watching television and fell asleep on her couch.[1] At some point after 1:00 a.m., she was awakened by a man standing over her and touching her breasts. Unsure if what she was perceiving was actually happening, RR. said words to the effect of "this can't be, " to which the intruder responded, "Yes, this is f--g happening." RR. immediately began to fight, kick, scratch, and scream, "trying with all [her] might to get him off." As she attempted to kick herself free, RR. grabbed a picture frame and hit the intruder on the head. He pushed her to the floor, choking her like "he was mad at [her] for fighting." The assailant repeatedly hit her in the head, cursed her, and told her he would slit her throat if she made another sound. He then repeatedly raped RR.

         Several times during the attack, the man stopped and looked around the house, asking RR. if she had anything of value he could take. He threatened to kill her if he found anything she had not disclosed, and got angrier when he discovered no cash in the house. He found and took a bottle of prescription muscle relaxers, then resumed raping RR. Before leaving, the assailant took RR.'s driver's license and cell phone, and gave her a final "warning" that if she reported the matter to the police, he would kill her and her entire family. RR. estimated the attack lasted about an hour and a half to two hours.

         After the assailant left, P.R. drove straight to a friend's house, arriving at about 3:45 a.m. On the way, she saw her assailant walking a street in her neighborhood. P.R.'s friend, after listening to P.R. describe what happened, drove P.R. back to her house to get more clothes and then to the hospital, where the police were contacted and P.R. underwent a comprehensive rape examination. The physical examination revealed extensive abrasions, bruising, and evidence of strangulation, including petechiae, as well as vaginal tearing and redness to the anal folds. Foreign DNA was obtained from P.R.'s clothing and several locations on her body, including under her fingernails. The examining forensic nurse concluded P.R.'s injuries were consistent with her account of an attack and rape.

         Officers with the Mandeville Police Department (MPD) interviewed P.R. at the hospital, and she recounted the attack, including a description of the assailant and the location where she last saw him walking. Responding officers found an empty bottle of muscle relaxers prescribed to P.R. on the ground a short distance from her residence. They also located a broken picture frame on the floor of P.R.'s living room. Security camera footage from a nearby convenience store revealed a man matching the description given by P.R. walking from the direction of P.R.'s house at about 3:19 a.m. P.R. was shown a still image from the video and immediately confirmed the man in the image was the person who raped her. MPD posted the image and a sketch of the assailant on social media, where the defendant's former step-brother saw it and identified the defendant to MPD. Pursuant to a search warrant, clothing consistent with P.R.'s description of her attacker's clothing was seized at the defendant's residence.

         The defendant was arrested and interviewed by MPD detectives. He said on the night of the crime a friend, Ashley Paille, picked him up at his house and they drove to a bar. After Paille began talking to two guys in the bar, the defendant started drinking heavily and eventually walked out into the parking lot. There, he claimed he met a girl and two guys, and paid them to take him home. He remembers getting in their vehicle but claimed to have no memory of anything that occurred after that point. He denied raping P.R. or entering her house. He said a red mark under his eye was the result of a fight "a while back." When the detective pointed out a rip in his shirt that was visible on the security camera video, the defendant said he did not know how his shirt was torn, offering, "I might've got mad at myself, I don't know."

         In a recorded telephone conversation at the jail between the defendant and his mother, he said he had intercourse with "a chick, " but it was in a car, not a house, and she brought him home. He denied ever going into a house that night, and did not remember going to the convenience store. The defendant claimed P.R. was "somebody craving attention."

         Paille confirmed she picked up the defendant at his house in Lacombe on the night of the crime, and the two went to a bar about a block from P.R.'s house. Paille said the defendant appeared jealous and wanted to leave after she began talking with two men at the bar. Between 1:00 a.m. and 1:30 a.m., after consuming several drinks, the defendant said he was walking home and left. When Paille left at around 2:00 a.m., she texted the defendant but got no response. She then called him, but the call went straight to voicemail. A significant time later, the defendant responded and said he was home. In the ensuing days, Paille saw security camera images and immediately realized the person in the video was the defendant. [455-56] He was wearing the same clothes; the ...


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