Powhatan Point Murder Suspect Wants To Keep Jury From Hearing Confession
The man accused of firing the fatal shot in an alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting a former Powhatan Point mayor was in court Thursday asking that his video confession be suppressed.
Steven Moore, 38, of 5495 Cove Road, Powhatan Point, is accused of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary with a firearm specification for the Nov. 18, 2013, murder of Marvin Brown. The charges are first-degree felonies.
He also faces charges of trafficking in drugs. According to the prosecutor’s office, he had been in jail on those counts when he allegedly implicated himself in Brown’s death.
Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra heard arguments Thursday on the suppression and is expected to make a decision today or next week.
The hearing began last week with the viewing of the first half of Moore’s interview with Detective Ryan Allar of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. On Thursday, the court viewed the last half of the four-hour video. The video was recorded the evening of March 12 and into March 13. The interview concluded close to 4 a.m.
During the course of the interview, Moore initially said he was in Brown’s home with another individual, but only in a lookout capacity. Allar said participation in the crime would expose Moore to the same charges regardless of his role. He pressed Moore for truthfulness, saying his testimony would be of no use in the prosecution of another alleged accomplice if Moore was deceitful. Moore eventually confessed to the shooting.
Belmont County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan and Chase Mallory, Moore’s defense attorney, questioned Allar concerning the progress of the interview. They also talked about his drug use.
“You knew Mr. Moore was a drug user,” Mallory said. “You wanted his cooperation because with his cooperation, potentially you’re going to get the rest of the people who are responsible for this. Heroin’s a powerful drug … The withdrawal symptoms are bad. People will do lots of things, lie, steal, murder, because of their addiction to heroin … Do you know if Steven was using heroin the night he was arrested?”
Allar said he did not know if Moore had used that day.
But Flanagan asked Allar if anything about Moore’s behavior would have made him stop his line of questioning.
“Was there anything in the video that caused you concern or gave you pause, that the defendant was not understanding the questions that you were posing at the time?” Flanagan asked.
Allar said this was not the case.
After the hearing, Allar said no charges have been filed for the other individual believed to have been at the scene.
“We believe there were two people at the scene of the murder, at least,” he said. “We believe there are multiple people involved in the murder. That it was a conspiracy.”
Brown’s stepdaughter, Meredith Broome, also known as Meredith McLeod, was arrested in March on the suspicion that she arranged and paid for the 2013 murder. She was charged in June with tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. The grand jury did not indict her for murder.
Moore remains in jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. He faces a maximum sentence of life without parole. A new trial date has not been set.