Family and friends of Gregory Moore want the 15-year-old SeaTac girl charged with his murder to be tried as an adult.
“Please help bring my family peace,” wrote Michelle Moore, of Maple Valley, the widow of Gregory Moore, on her Facebook page in an effort to get people to contact King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg to move the case out of Juvenile Court and into King County Superior Court.
Satterberg met with the Moore family and posted a message Sept. 16 on the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Facebook page in response to the demands of Moore’s relatives and friends.
“My office has received dozens of messages about the tragic death of Greg Moore from a hit-and-run driver in the Maple Valley area,” Satterberg wrote. “It is clear that he was much admired and that his senseless death has impacted many people. We have charged a 15-year old girl with murder in the second degree and felony hit-and-run for the conduct that caused his death.”
Gregory and Michelle Moore would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on Sept. 14.
Instead, that was the day the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged the SeaTac girl with second-degree murder and hit-and-run for allegedly killing Moore, 53, with her vehicle as he took a Sunday morning jog July 18 near his Maple Valley home.
Satterberg explained why the case is in Juvenile Court, as under state law only felony cases involving those ages 16 or 17 are automatically referred to adult court where they could face longer sentences.
“The girl was 15 years old at the time of the offense,” Satterberg said. “She has no prior arrests. The laws of our state presume that a child this age must be prosecuted in Juvenile Court. The only legal mechanism for having her tried as an adult would be for a judge to make very specific legal determinations.
“As it stands, the facts and circumstances of this case do not legally permit her transfer to adult court. My legal team met with Mr. Moore’s family, explained the legal challenges and answered all of their questions to the best of our ability.”
The girl pleaded not guilty to the charges on Sept. 15. She remains in custody in the King County Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle, according to a Sept. 16 email from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She is scheduled to return to court for a case setting hearing on Oct. 21. A trial date could be set then or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case. A trial would be in front of a Juvenile Court judge.
The girl reportedly told a friend in the car with her that she wanted to “scare him” so she bumped him with her godmother’s car and then fled the scene after Moore flew up on the car and landed in a ditch where a woman found him dead about five hours later. It took King County Sheriff’s Office detectives nearly two months to track down the driver of the car. The girl’s father turned her into detectives after her godmother told them the girl might have been driving (without permission) the godmother’s 2004 Toyota Camry involved in Moore’s death.
“The taking of Mr. Moore’s life is an unimaginable tragedy,” Satterberg said. “He had so much to live for and nothing will make up for his loss. I am committed to ensuring that the person responsible for all of this will be held accountable to the full extent of the law and we will do our best to support the Moore family through the difficult criminal legal process.”
Satterberg said the girl has been charged with second-degree murder under the felony murder theory, which is in the attempt to commit a felony assault with her vehicle, she caused the death of another human being.
“Specifically, in this case, it is alleged that she intended to hit/bump the victim with a motor vehicle (assault in the second degree), and this caused his death,” Satterberg said.
If the girl’s case remains in Juvenile Court and a judge finds her guilty as charged, she could face a sentence range under state guidelines of three years to six years, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Satterberg said he understands why family and friends of Moore are upset.
“I have heard from many people who knew and loved Mr. Moore that find the legal remedies neither sufficient nor just,” he said. “My office will do everything within our ability to hold this juvenile legally responsible for her actions and to support the family through the legal process.”
After the girl’s arrest, Michelle Moore posted on Facebook what it’s been like to lose her husband to a hit-and-run driver.
“Nearly two months have passed,” she said. “Two months of unbearable grief and misery. Two months of sleepless nights and an ocean of tears. Two months of constantly wondering if we would ever have answers. I am so pleased to announce that we finally do. Nothing will bring him back but now my family can grieve our loss fully.”