IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
IN THE MATTER OF:
O R D E R
Claimant appeared in person.
Benjamin F. Yancey, III, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of West Virginia.
An application of the claimant, Patricia Moore, for an award under the West Virginia Crime
Victims Compensation Act, was filed July 30, 2001. The report of the Claim Investigator, filed
March 1, 2002, recommended that no award be granted, to which the claimant filed a response in
disagreement. An Order was issued on April 19, 2002, upholding the Investigator's recommendation
and denying the claim, in response to which the claimant's request for hearing was filed May 1, 2002.
This matter came on for hearing November 20, 2003, claimant appearing pro se and the State of West
Virginia by counsel, Benjamin F. Yancey, III, Assistant Attorney General.
On August 13, 1999, the claimant's 23-year-old son, Robert Moore, was the victim of
criminally injurious conduct in the Witcher Creek area of Kanawha County. The victim was fatally
stabbed by his cousin, Timothy Hancock, who was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder. He
was convicted of first-degree manslaughter.
Testifying at the hearing was the claimant, Patricia Moore. Ms. Moore stated that her son had
purchased a car from Richard Taylor but was told by the DMV that there was something wrong with
the title. (Transcript, page 7.) Richard Taylor, Timmy Hancock, and Andy Hall arrived at the Moore
residence at 4:40 p.m. on the day in question. The claimant's mother advised Robert to go to the
deputy's station to "get this straightened out." (Transcript, page 7.) They did so, but the station was
closed, so Richard Taylor took Robert to Timco's, a junkyard dealer, to get a tire. (Transcript, page
8.) Unable to get one, they proceeded to Itchy Pierson's on Simmons Creek. There, they were
unsuccessful in obtaining a title. The claimant testified that her son Robert gave Richard Taylor 24
hours to "have him a title." (Transcript, page 8.)
The claimant revealed that four days after the incident, Richard Taylor came to her house and
told her that "Robert was leaving to meet a girl and Timmy ran out behind the truck and stabbed him
in the back." (Transcript, page 8.) Richard Taylor had no idea what provoked the attack, he said,
because he was drunk. He also informed the claimant that Robert wasn't drinking. (Transcript, page
Ms. Moore testified that it was not uncommon for people to congregate in that area, but
Robert would not have done so because those people were not his age. (Transcript, page 10.) Other
people have told her that Robert was sober that evening, but no one appeared to testify at the hearing.
When asked why Robert was there, the claimant reiterated that he was trying to get a title for the car,
and that he was on his way to meet his girlfriend Amanda. (Transcript, page 15.)
Upon cross-examination, the claimant was asked how late her son was out the previous
evening. She replied that he came in "at 5:30 in the morning and he was...partying with friends of
his in his age group." (Transcript, page 18.) The claimant stated that her son's truck was not down in the swimming hole area, but was beside the road
. She admitted that her son knew of the swimming
hole's reputation, and that is why his vehicle remained beside the road. She surmised that someone
had flagged him down or he stopped to drop off Andy Hall. (Transcript, page 19.)
Lieutenant Ray Flint of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department testified that he arrived
on the scene after the initial officer, Deputy Chris George. Lieutenant Flint stated that he took no
statements that night, but did speak with several witnesses later. Those witnesses revealed that "some
type of argument developed between Mr. Hancock and Mr. Moore...and progressed into a physical
altercation." (Transcript, page 25.) He did not know the reason for the argument, but that possibly
Mr. Hancock threw the first punch. (Transcript, page 26.) When questioned about the victim's
drinking, Lieutenant Flint stated that the medical examiner's report showed a blood alcohol content
of .18%. (Transcript, page 28.)
From the evidence and testimony presented in this claim, the Court finds that Robert Moore
was an innocent victim of crime. He suffered a stab wound to the back, and his attacker was
convicted of first-degree manslaughter. Robert Moore's actions on the evening in question do not
rise to the level of contributory misconduct, which is defined in W.Va. Code §14-2A-3(l) as "any
conduct of the claimant, or of the victim through whom the claimant claims an award, that is unlawful
or intentionally tortious and that, without regard to the conduct's proximity in time or space to the
criminally injurious conduct has causal relationship to the criminally injurious conduct that is the
basis of the claim and shall also include the voluntary intoxication of the claimant... ." The Court
finds that the interests of justice require an award in this case.
According to the claimant's application, funeral and burial expenses of over $10,000.00 were
incurred. The statute in effect at the time provided a maximum award of $4,000.00 for funeral and burial expenses. Therefore, an award in that sum is hereby granted as set out below.
P.O. Box 492
Belle WV 25015