When someone takes a plea deal it is generally for one of three reasons.... to avoid the death penalty, to get a much lighter sentence or to avoid putting the defendant's family through a trial. In today's world, as in this case, so often the defendant's family and the victim's family are one and the same. It is not unusual to see someone who is wanting to avoid the death penalty to make a plea and serve the rest of their life in prison. Nor is it unusual to see someone get a much shorter sentence than they were looking at. Sometimes this is done by lowering the charges or even changing them and allowing the court to sentence differently. This case involved a plea deal but the death penalty was never an option for prosecutors because the defendant was a minor when the crime was committed. The United States Supreme court had made this ruling in 2005, five years before the crime was committed. Whether the deal was very specific prior to entering the court is unclear but when Devon Moore walked out he had the maximum sentence allowed to an adult for his crime as that is how the prosecutors were charging him. If the deal was specific and the judge rejected it as written Devon could have withdrawn his plea deal. So, that only leaves out putting his family through a trial. While I am sure these things are devastating to families but in my opinion if taken to trial he could not have been any worse off. But, here I go again, getting ahead of myself.
On the evening of November 3, 2010 Rhonda Frazier reported that her ex-husband, Timothy Moore was missing from his South Bend Washington home. Now, I stated that Tim was her ex-husband but I guess to be fair I cannot say this is true for sure. There were indications that they were still a couple in some way but did not live together, but then again, the only thing that I can state for a fact is that Tim and Rhonda had a son together, Devon. Devon lived with his father and by all appearances not only was he a good kid, but everyone believed Tim to be a doting and wonderful father.
Now, keep in mind that I have already said that this case ended in a plea deal. This means that there was no trial in which specifics could be told in open court and in most case, as it seems with this one, at least for now, it means that no appeals have been filed. This makes many of the “facts” and the “evidence” of the crime left to the media to tell, whether it be through newspaper articles or one of the many documentary type shows that are on television now days. While there have been several of those shows made about this case, and I have seen at least a few of them, I am going to keep my facts simply based on what I found through my research on the Internet. This means if you have seen one of those shows and you remember other details you may not find them here.
Search parties were formed to find Tim. It seems that no one truly believed that he would have simply taken off. The last person to see Tim was his son, Devon, who said he had last seen his father when he had gone to bed on November 2nd. A neighbor would later say that in the early morning of November 3rd they had seen someone washing Tim's pick up truck. The neighbor could not say for sure who exactly the person washing the truck was, but apparently the county was able to determine that this was true through water records. I had never heard such a thing but the way it was explained was that the water department could tell when and how much water was used at any particular time. It appears that this seemed rather odd to investigators but it also seems that no one suspected that Devon would have anything to do with his father's disappearance.
Almost four months to the day after he disappeared a skeleton was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area. Some reports say it was found by hikers, others say it was found by loggers. Either way at the time of the discovery no one knew who this was even if it was suspected to be Tim Moore. The body had to be identified through dental records. It was then that they knew for sure this was Tim Moore and that he had been killed from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. It seems they were able to determine rather easily that the bullets had come from a .22 rifle. Whether they knew Tim had owned such a rifle at this point or not is unclear but a search of the home did not find one.
By now, while suspicion had not been on Devon in the beginning, it was at this point. Whether it was because they had found the weapon and had linked it to both Tim and Devon or it was just intuition I cannot say. I cannot say exactly when they brought Devon back in for questioning, only that they did at some point and within two hours of the interview Devon had confessed to killing his father, telling investigators why, what he did and where to find more evidence. While Tim had been found on the 1st of April all I can say is that sometime that month Devon was charged with the murder of his father.
Devon would tell first the investigators and then apparently later, the courts, that he and his father had an argument on the night of November 2nd. Allegedly this argument had centered around Devon's grades and the fact that his father had a rule about them. In order to maintain driving privileges Devon was required to maintain his grades to a level that kept him on the honor roll. He had failed to do that and his father had told him he could not drive the vehicle. This obviously angered the sixteen year old. He waited until his father went to bed and then he retrieved his bolt action .22 rifle from the closet in which it was stored. Devon went into his father's room and proceeded to shoot him at least four times in the back of the head. He then put his father's body in a garbage can and drug it to the back of his father's pick up truck. He took the body to the area in which it would later be found and buried it in a shallow grave. He had dumped his father's clothing and wallet in another area. He then went home and washed the truck. He would later sell the gun to a friend of his, the son of a sheriff's deputy no less.
Prosecutors had decided that they were going to charge Devon as an adult. Although he could not receive the death penalty he could receive a sentence of up to thirty-one years it seems. Had Devon been charged as a juvenile he would have gotten about five years and released at the age of twenty-one. Prosecutors did not feel that was enough time for the heinous crime for one of the most unreasonable reasons. With this I think I would have to tend to agree. This would be where the plea deal would come in. In October of 2012 Devon would plead guilty to the first degree murder of his father. The following month the judge would sentence him. He received a sentence of thirty-one years plus another 36 months of “community custody.” What this latter indication means seems to be a bit of debate. One article stated it was “community service” but I highly doubt that to be the case. I would assume that “community custody” would refer to something more like a half way house or work release program.
This is where I become confused. The prosecutors obviously were not going to agree to a short sentence, like he would receive if charged as a juvenile, although he would have served every bit of those five years. In adult prison they are often given “good time” and can earn credits for an early release but in most states the juvenile laws prevent their released until a particular birthday year. Again, because of his age Devon could not have faced the death penalty in this case. Had they taken the case to trial the MOST he could have gotten was exactly what he got with the plea deal. It does seem that initially his attorney's had planned to argue a “mental health defense” and it was said that the case was delayed to give time for an evaluation. I can only assume that the results were not as the defense would have liked, hence the plea deal came about. But, I am still left wondering why, even after getting the maximum sentence allowed that the lawyers did not withdraw the plea and take chances at court. Of course his confession would have been noted and there is little chance he would not have been found guilty, but there is the chance he could have gotten a lesser sentence. Not to mention they could have withdrew the plea and started over working with prosecutors. I am in no way saying that this boy was not guilty but I question the advice he was given and the plea he was offered.
The Washington State Department of Corrections website is one of, if not the, worse I have seen as far as information. You cannot even click on a name to get specific information. You search by last name... Moore was fun.... and then scroll through pages to find your person. Once there there are two links available. One is the link to the facility the inmate is housed and the other gives you the ability to be notified upon the inmates release. Beyond that there is nothing to find any specifics on the crime, the sentence or any chance at parole. So all I can tell you is that Devon Moore is in prison in the state of Washington.