Reid trial begins

October 05, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Ten-year-old Jeremy Moore testified about discovering his dead mother and sister as the trial of Albert Ezron Reid began Monday in Franklin County Court.

"I shook her, my mom, and she wouldn't wake up," said Jeremy Moore.

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Moore, who was 8 at the time, said he didn't hear the shots that killed his mother, Carla Reid, 36, or his sister, Deidre Moore, 14, on the morning of Dec. 27, 1996, even though he was sleeping in the same bed as his mother.

After discovering the bodies, Moore said he tried to wake up an older brother, then went back to sleep until morning.

Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said Albert Reid, 49, had the motive, means and opportunity to kill his estranged wife and stepdaughter, but the prosecution has no murder weapon or eyewitnesses.


Albert Reid, of Biglerville, Pa., went on trial Monday on two counts of criminal homicide and one count of burglary in the deaths of Reid and Moore at their Sollenberger Road home.

In his opening statement, Nelson said Reid's motive was to prevent Reid and Moore from testifying against him in a sexual assault trial that was scheduled for Jan. 6, 1997. Nelson recounted a troubled marriage during which Carla Reid several times filed criminal charges against her husband, only to withdraw them.

In the summer before her death, Carla Reid told Pennsylvania State Police that Albert Reid molested Moore in 1994 and again in 1996, Nelson told the nine-man, three-woman jury.

As for means, Nelson said witnesses would testify that Reid purchased a gun shortly before the killings.

"He said he didn't want to go to jail over it and said he would use a gun if necessary," Nelson said.

Nelson referred to a list found stuffed in a shoe in Reid's room at a Chambersburg motel. He said it had the names of Reid, Moore and others involved in the sexual assault case and writing in French that "invokes various voodoo gods of death."

The night before her death, Nelson said, Carla Reid left her job at the South Mountain Restoration Center and stopped at Kel's Place, a Chambersburg bar.

"Albert had followed her from work, threatened her, told her he would put her lights out," Nelson said.

Nelson admitted most of his case will be based on circumstantial evidence.

He said physical evidence includes a glove print on a pipe where the telephone line into Carla Reid's house was cut that is similar to a glove found in Reid's pickup. He said a shoe print in mulch is similar in size and shape to boots Reid owned.

"There is in fact gunshot residue present on those items," Nelson said of clothing police took from Reid when he was charged on the day of the shooting with violating conditions of his bond in the sexual assault case.

"Mr. Nelson tells a heck of a story ... but he has to prove it," defense attorney Stephen D. Kulla said in his opening statement.

"This is not a case about determining if Albert Reid sexually assaulted Deidre Moore ... There will be a lot of evidence that Albert Reid was not very kind to his wife," Kulla said.

"In this case the prosecution rushed to judgment," Kulla said.

He said the police had Reid in handcuffs within minutes of the bodies being discovered and that other possible suspects were ignored.

Reid was arrested in Chambersburg shortly after the shooting deaths were reported at 8:48 a.m., but Cpl. Wayne Sheppard said he ordered Reid and another man to be released. Reid was arrested on the bond violation later in the day.

Sheppard said Reid was upset when told that Reid and Moore were dead. Moore was not Reid's daughter, but he had two children by Carla Reid.

"Did you ask him to make arrangements to take care of his children?" Nelson asked.

"Yes," Sheppard said.

"What did he say?" Nelson asked.

"No," Sheppard said.

"Did he ask how they were killed?" Judge John Walker asked.

"No," said Sheppard.

The trial is expected to last through the week.

Before the trial began, one juror was excused to attend a family funeral.

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