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Sleepy juror removed as testimony halts in Danville murder trial

Union Leader Correspondent

May 15. 2018 8:54PM
An emotional January Leighton testifies in her brother's murder trial. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

Richard Moore was back in court Tuesday for the second day of testimony in his murder trial in Rockingham County Superior Court. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — A juror in the Richard Moore murder trial was excused Tuesday after he appeared to be sleeping.

“I think he slept through three-quarters of this trial,” Rockingham County Superior Court Judge N. William Delker said after jurors left the courtroom and testimony was halted.

The incident happened while prosecutors played an hour-long conversation between Moore and his sister, January Leighton. The exchange was secretly recorded while Leighton was driving Moore around in the days after he allegedly murdered Jo-Anne Boucher inside her Danville home on Sept. 2, 2016.

Leighton, who was cooperating with police when she allowed the car ride to be recorded by a hidden camera, took the stand Tuesday to testify as a key witness for the prosecution.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley told the judge at some point Leighton made a comment about how one juror looked sleepy and needed to get some coffee. Concerns about the incident prompted the judge to call each juror to his bench to address them individually.

Hinckley said it appeared the juror in question had been asleep and was woken by another juror.

Before the juror was excused, a sometimes emotional Leighton testified about how her brother had admitted to her that he punched, stabbed and burned his ex-girlfriend, with whom he was living.

Moore is charged with first- and second-degree murder and arson.

During the recorded conversation shortly before his arrest on Sept. 9, 2016, Moore, 38, offered up details about the killing at 23 Caramel Drive.

“I was just in a complete rage,” he told Leighton on the recording.

Moore, whose public defenders argue gave a “forced” and “fabricated” confession, told how he stabbed Boucher several times, but wasn’t covered in blood.

“I only had splatters on my arm, but I think that was about it,” he told his sister.

After the killing, Moore explained how he wiped up the knife and fingerprints and later found a secluded area in Manchester where he tossed the knife into a river. He also said that he disposed of his clothes in a trash can at a public park and watched to make sure that it was collected.

Leighton repeatedly asked Moore if she could drive him to the police station to turn himself in.

“Trust me, I regret every second of every day,” Moore told her.

Leighton insisted that it would be better if Moore expressed his remorse and surrendered, but at the time he said that “for now” his answer was no.

During her testimony, Leighton spoke about another conversation she had with her brother in which he had also confessed and spoken about how he hoped the fire would have burned the house. While Boucher’s body was burned in the basement, a state fire investigator testified Tuesday that the fire never spread because it didn’t have enough oxygen.

“He said that he was hoping that the house would go up in flames and that there would be no body left and there would be no evidence,” Leighton testified.

Former Rockingham County jail inmate Kevin Sullivan also testified that Moore admitted to the killing in jail. He claimed Moore told him that Boucher got what she deserved and made the comment, “Looking in someone’s eyes while they take their last breath, nothing feels better than that.”

Public defender Kyle Robidas raised questions about Sullivan’s credibility and pointed out that his record included charges of robbing an elderly woman, burglary and bail-jumping. He tried to paint Sullivan as a man who went to authorities with information in hopes of getting less jail time, but Sullivan and prosecutors insisted that he got no deal in exchange.

Courts Crime General News Danville

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