Local News

Wilson Sheriff Claims Moore Should Have Been In Prison On Probation Violation

Posted October 4, 2000

— There is still some finger-pointing in the case of Keith Moore, a Wilson man charged with committing two murders. Wilson County's sheriff says Moore was supposed to be in prison on a probation violation.

In his own handwriting last year, Moore asked to go to jail. He was on probation for stealing from his employer and could not pay back the $25,000 restitution. He stayed on probation and never paid up.

Two months ago, Judge G.K. Butterfield revoked the probation and granted two 15-day extensions, but Moore never turned himself in.

Last week, police say he killed his girlfriend and ex-wife and shot his young son.

Sheriff Wayne Gay says he wishes the judge had put Moore behind bars the day his probation was revoked.

"You have two people who are dead as a result of the fact that he was still out of jail over a period of time, and hopefully they would be alive today," he says. "It's certainly in the judge's discretion to give him time to report, but it's unusual."

Judge Butterfield said he granted the extensions so Moore could find a home for some relatives. The judge also pointed out that Moore had never been convicted of a violent crime.

The Butterfield accused the sheriff's office of dropping the ball. Sheriff Gay did, in fact, demote an employee for failing to pick Moore up after the deadline, but he says the whole ordeal could have been avoided if the judge had put Moore behind bars in the first place.

"I don't think there's any strain between the sheriff's office and the judge, because we both understand our responsibility," says Gay. "I respect his judgement, even though I disagree with it."

Sheriff deputies say Moore may have gone after another acquaintance in Iowa. Moore's 22-month-old son, Brandon, was injured in the shootings. He was released from the hospital Wednesday.

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