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Trial delayed for W.Va. woman charged with wounding pastor

December 02, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Falling Waters, W.Va., woman charged with hitting a youth pastor with her car and then driving more than two miles with him on her hood has been involuntarily committed to a Virginia hospital for mental health reasons, her attorney said.

Patty Jane Moore, who was charged with one count of felony malicious wounding in the October 2002 incident, has been committed since Nov. 23 at Winchester (Va.) Medical Center against her will, attorney Jim Rich said during a court hearing Monday.

Moore's mental health worsened after the recent death of her husband, Rich said. She previously voluntarily sought treatment at City Hospital in Martinsburg, Rich said.

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Berkeley County Assistant Prosecutor Betsy Giggenbach said a plea bargain was offered to Moore that would allow her to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and be sentenced to serve time in a mental institution rather than in prison.

Because Moore is most likely not competent she has not been able to discuss the details of the plea bargain, Rich said.

Circuit Judge David Sanders scheduled a hearing for next Monday, at which Moore's competency could be addressed, he said.

Moore was previously evaluated at South Central Regional Jail, where opinions varied on whether she should be held criminally responsible for her actions, Giggenbach said.

Jurors at her trial were to decide whether Moore knew what she was doing at the time the youth pastor was hit, she said.

Sanders postponed Moore's trial, which was set to begin next week. A new date was not scheduled.

West Virginia State Police Trooper R.T. Dyroff, who investigated the case, said the incident began when Moore went into the Marlowe (W.Va.) Assembly of God church and demanded that her past six years worth of tithes be returned or that the church pay her son's mortgage.

After a pastor told Moore that was impossible, she threatened him and left, Dyroff said. Youth pastor Matthew Daniel Barnes, then 21, told police that later that day he saw Moore pouring soda on the pastor's truck and in his gas tank.

When Barnes went outside to confront Moore, she allegedly swerved her car onto the church lawn and came toward him, he said. Barnes had placed his hands in the air motioning for Moore to stop, and then tried to get out of her way, Dyroff said.

Moore allegedly hit Barnes and turned onto U.S. 11 heading toward Maryland as Barnes lay face-down on the hood, Dyroff said.

Two people driving in the opposite direction on U.S. 11 told police they saw a man on top of a gray mid-sized sedan who fell off, landed on the pavement and rolled into a ditch. Barnes was airlifted to Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., for treatment.

Barnes later told police that Moore slowed down and sped up several times along U.S. 11, apparently trying to get him off her car. Moore then slammed on her brakes and may have turned to the left, causing Barnes to fall off, Barnes told police.

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