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Woman gets up to 20 years for shooting ex

August 11, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg woman who shot her ex-husband at the Chambersburg Mall last year was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to seven to 20 years in state prison.

"A woman scorned is forever hateful. ... I can't imagine the anger you felt and that's what scares me," Judge John R. Walker told Valerie Jean Moraites at her sentencing on a charge of criminal attempt to commit homicide.

Moraites, 43, of 940 Stouffer Ave., had been divorced 12 years when she shot and wounded Stephen C. Moraites of Chambersburg on April 28, 1998.

Stephen Moraites was with family members when he was shot in the shoulder and stomach while in the center court of the mall, according to court records.

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When Moraites pleaded guilty to the charge on June 16, she told Walker that she had begun experiencing feelings of anger after her former husband moved back to the Chambersburg area. After seeing him at the mall she went out to her car, got a pistol and shot him twice.

"You must have been one mad mama to go out and get that gun," Walker said Wednesday.

"I'm glad he didn't die. ... I'd like to change it, but I can't," Moraites said.

Defense attorney Colleen Kennedy Rettig said during the sentencing that Moraites had no prior criminal record and had suffered from severe depression at the time of the shooting. She said Moraites had attempted suicide while in Franklin County Prison and was subsequently hospitalized.

"She has told me on several occasions that what she did was stupid and awful and she feels great remorse," Rettig said.

"If I were him and you got out, I'd invest in a bulletproof vest," Walker said.

The judge ordered Moraites to have no contact with Stephen Moraites or his family and to stay at least a mile from his home and place of business once she is released.

In addition to the prison sentence and a $300 fine, Valerie Moraites was ordered to pay more than $35,000 in restitution, most of it to her ex-husband's insurance company.

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