BURLINGTON, Ky. – The jury in Michael Moore’s double-murder trial began deliberations Monday after hearing a relative testify that Moore’s father talked of killing his wife and himself.
After he had colon cancer surgery in 2007, Warren Moore told his wife Madge that he would "eat a bullet" rather than suffer a painful death like his father had, a cousin of Madge Moore testified Monday
When Madge Moore responded, "What about me?" the cousin testified that Warren Moore said, "I'd shoot you first, then I'd eat a bullet."
In closing arguments, defense attorney Joanne Lynch portrayed Warren Moore as depressed, withdrawn and angry at the supposed pill sharing between Madge Moore and their son Michael.
Michael Moore, accused of fatally shooting both of his parents in their Boone County home in 2009, testified Friday that his father shot his mother to death and that he killed his father in a struggle over the gun.
Michael Moore testified that his years of drug abuse and his father’s anger over Madge and Michael's pill sharing led to the fatal shootings.
Moore testified that his father shot his mother, who had multiple sclerosis, after one last argument over her pain pills.
The cousin testified that Madge Moore’s health was declining and Warren Moore had become Madge's main caregiver.
The cousin also testified that their family had a history of prescription drug abuse and that Madge and Warren argued about her giving pain pills to Michael.
But Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith painted Michael Moore as a liar.
Tally Smith advised the jury to judge Moore’s guilt on the easy charges first.
Moore faces four counts - one count of tampering with evidence and one count of falsely reporting a crime besides the two murder counts.
Tally Smith reminded them that Moore admitted lying to investigators and he was caught throwing the gun on the roof.
Tally Smith said that Warren Moore was a desperate man trying to protect his wife's pain medication by locking it in a safe and leaving this warning for his son.
“If a single pill is missing from the safe, don't ever come back. You'll never be welcome again.”
"The defense tried to make a big deal with the defendant on the stand whether that note was from months earlier or weeks earlier or whenever it was,” Tally Smith said. “What does it really matter? The sentiment is the same: Stay out of the safe. Leave mom’s pills alone. We know you're doing it."
Moore testified in gripping detail Friday that he heard his father shoot his mother and found himself in a life-or-death struggle with his father.
"Oh my god, I just shot my dad in the head!" Moore exclaimed at the height of his testimony in Boone County Circuit Court.
Moore said his mother had given him her bedtime Oxycodone and then she asked him to get another pill from his father, who kept them locked away.
“Dad said, ‘She shouldn't have given you her bedtime pill. You two need to quit doing this (expletive). I'm sick of it,’" Moore testified.
Moore said he went to another room and then ...
"I heard a loud pop. I heard my mom hit the floor," Moore said.
He said he saw his mother lying in the kitchen and suddenly found himself struggling with his father for the gun.
"I'm in a struggle in a small space with my dad," Moore testified.
“I got shot in the leg and scrotum.
“I yanked the gun out of his hands.
“I went over to the right and fired.
"I fired a second time. I snapped the gun down and fired."
Moore said he shot his father twice in the head. He testified he shot a second time “because I was afraid I missed the first time.”
His attorney asked Moore why he didn’t call 911.
"I was scared. I don't have an answer. What am I going to say? Oh yeah, I just shot my dad?" Moore replied.
“My immediate reaction was to cover this up.”
Moore said he was “an emotional wreck. I'm a pill addict. I would have processed things differently had I not been taking narcotics all the time."
It was a totally different story than Moore had told police after the shootings. At the time, he said an intruder had shot him and his parents, and that was his story for four years until the trial. In opening arguments, his attorney said Moore had made up his original story to protect his family.
“There were things that happened inside that house that I did not want made public,” Moore testified Friday.
Tally Smith attacked Moore as a liar and a drug addict.
Moore, a former Warren County deputy, had claimed he started taking painkillers after he suffered a back injury on the job in 2004.
“Are you surprised that the Warren Co. PD just faxed us a report of the incident (he described) and you're not in it?” Tally Smith asked.
Moore admitted he was using drugs before 2004.
“You want these
people (the jury) to believe you are telling the truth after you have lied to everybody else?” Tally Smith asked.
“Did I lie? Yes,” Moore said. “Did I use drugs? Yes. Did I buy drugs? Yes.
"Should they believe me? No, not on my own merit," Moore said.
Earlier Friday, Moore testified about his drug use and the arguments in the house after he moved in with his parents in 2008.
Moore testified that his mother had been taking painkillers since the 1980s, including Oxycontin and Lortab, and she started sharing her medication with him.
Defense: "Would you let your mom know that you were hurting sometimes?”
Defense: “And would she give you pain medication?”
Defense: “What kind of medications would she give you?”
Moore: “Most of the time Oxycontin.”
Moore said he and his mother had nicknames for the pills. They called Lortab “the regular stuff” and Oxycontin ”the good stuff.”
“I didn’t stop because I'm an addict. My mom didn't stop because she was loving,” Moore said.
Moore said he had a closer relationship with his mother after Moore and his wife separated in 2008.
“I didn't have somebody else in my life. We spent a lot of time together. We were getting along better than we ever had,” he said.
Moore said he would drive her around at night and they would go out to eat and work in the garden together.
His relationship was his father was not so good, Moore said.
He said his father was no longer working at Convergys and was depressed.
Moore said his father grew angry about their sharing pills.
"He said, 'Stop it. You each have your own pills,'" Moore testified.
“She’d say, "They are my pills. I do what I want with them. He's my son,’" Moore said.
His mother never stopped giving him pills even though his father tried to stop it, Moore said.
Moore said he would share his prescription with his mother and give her drugs he bought on the street.
He said his father started keeping his mother’s pills in his desk at work.
"She said, ‘Those are my goddamn pills, he has no right to do this. Go down there and find them.'"
Moore said he ransacked his father’s office and found the pills. He brought the pills back to his mom and took some.
"My mom always protected me. All my life,” Moore said.
He said his mother got very sick in the time he lived at home and he mostly took care of her.
Asked how he felt about the way his father treated her, Moore said: "Generally kind of pissed off."
Moore said he heard his mother say, "Warren, you're hurting me!" when he would try to help her up.
"His patience with her was gone," Moore said.
"I feel like in all fairness to my dad, he's watching somebody he loves deteriorate. It weighed on him," Moore said.
Moore said his father ultimately put the pills in the bedroom safe to keep them from him, but Moore said he had the combination.
Moore said his father started leaving notes in the safe.
Defense: "What did the note say?”
Moore: “Basically, ‘Don't take anymore medicine or you're out of here.’ “
Defense: “And what did you do when you saw that?”
Moore: “Shut the safe."
Moore testified that he wrote checks on his girlfriend's bank account in June 2009 and his father made excuses for him and got them back together.
Moore’s girlfriend, Sherry Kinada, testified that Moore told her the same story he told police: that an intruder killed his parents and shot him.
"He kind of just said someone came in. He couldn't tell who it was. He couldn't see a face. He couldn't even tell me a skin color. Just somebody dressed in black, somebody just came in," Kinada testified.
"He looked, turned around and saw his mother was down. And then his dad was down," she said.
Kinada told the court she first spoke to Moore about the incident while he was in the hospital after the shootings.
Investigators claim Moore shot himself to support his original story that an intruder killed his parents and shot him, too.
Moore has been in jail since he was arrested four years ago.
Greg Noble wrote this story with reports from Jay Warren, Lisa Smith, Alyssa Dailey and Jane Andreasik.