Patricia Moore



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 9.)
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.

Patricia Moore
P.O. Box 492
Belle WV 25015

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