Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive
Monday, March 26, 2001
Michael Patrick Moore Scheduled To Be Executed
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn offers the following information on Michael Patrick Moore who is scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th.
On Nov. 3, 1994, Michael Patrick Moore was sentenced for the capital murder of Christa E. Bentley which occurred during a burglary in Copperas Cove, Texas, on Feb. 26, 1994. A summary of the evidence presented at trial follows.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
Moore stated in his confession that he had been drinking and playing pool in a nightclub in Killeen, Texas, on the evening of Feb. 25, 1994, and that he stayed at the bar until last call, after which he drove back to Copperas Cove. According to Moore, he was broke and behind in rent and had 10 or so outstanding bad checks. So when he got back in town, he decided to "look into getting some income." Moore stated that he had previously seen a photograph of "T.R." Bentley, the victim's daughter, in a Copperas Cove High School yearbook, and he had looked up her address. Moore related that he had driven by the Bentley home one day and had seen "T.R." standing outside and therefore knew she lived there.
Moore confessed that he got to the Bentley house sometime after 2 a.m.. Dressed in black clothing, he approached the home carrying a crow bar, a pistol in a holster on his belt, and a "large knife" in a scabbard. Moore found the back door unlocked and laid the crow bar down on the back porch. He entered the Bentley residence armed with his gun and knife. Moore removed his black shirt, laid it in a chair in the dining room and headed toward the bedrooms. He heard a female voice that sounded half asleep calling out a name. He mumbled something back and went into the bathroom. Through a partly open door, Moore saw someone get out of bed. Christa Bentley opened the door and started screaming. Moore stated he tried to push her back into the bedroom, but she grabbed him and kept screaming. Moore stabbed Christa several times in the chest and eventually lost his knife. Moore then drew his revolver and shot her. Moore then ran out of the house, got into his car, and drove toward Lampasas. Christa's 14-year old son awoke and found her body and called 911.
The medical examiner, Joanie McClain, later testified during the guilt/innocence stage of the trial that she performed the autopsy on Christa Bentley and described the murder as "overkill" and "particularly brutal." She described that one fingernail on Bentley's left hand had been completely bent backwards and broken and that such a wound was a defensive injury. Bentley also had eight separate, sharp force entries to the body. Dr. McClain estimated the weapon was a 6-inch long blade and that the maximum amount of time Bentley could have survived was "somewhere in the minutes range." The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab wounds.
After fleeing the crime scene, Moore stated he saw police lights behind him, and he thought he was being chased because the police must have known he had stabbed and shot a woman. Trial testimony from officers showed that they followed Moore because he did not have on his car headlights. Instead of giving up, Moore led the police on a car chase of speeds up to 80 m.p.h. Moore slowed down and jumped out of the car, stumbled and tried to run, but the police apprehended him.
March 31, 1994 -
PUNISHMENT EVIDENCE/PRIOR HISTORY
In his confession, Moore admitted that he had previously stolen the knife and gun with which he stabbed and shot the victim from two different residences in Copperas Cove.
During the punishment phase, the State introduced records from the Conners Children's Home where Moore resided during part of his childhood. The records indicated Moore twice set fire to his house and once to the Children's Home; he had threatened to kill his parents and blame their deaths on his younger brother; and he had tried to stab his younger brother with a pair of scissors. The State also introduced evidence that as a child, Moore continuously exhibited violent and improper sexual behavior. In addition, while serving in the Navy, Moore was on unauthorized absence three times and was convicted of larceny. Moore also admitted to being involved in a physical altercation while in jail.
The State introduced a notebook written by Moore entitled "The Girls of Copperas Cove" in which he listed the names and addresses of 300 teenage girls of Copperas Cove. Many of these girls, including "T.R.," the victim's daughter, testified that Moore stalked, harassed, and threatened them. Moore wrote letters to several of the girls in which he threatened to rape them.
The State introduced evidence of various extraneous offenses, including several burglaries that often took place while the victims were home and that were perpetrated against the girls listed in the notebook. Moore's notebook also contained the license plate numbers of a Coryell County Justice of the Peace and a Copperas Cove police sergeant.
The State called psychiatrist, Dr. Richard Coons, who testified to Moore's future danger to society, noting that Moore lacked a conscience, was a continuing threat to society, and that he would be manipulative, vindictive and a threat to smaller prisoners.
For additional information and statistics, please log on to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.
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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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