(UPDATED JUNE 2013: Moore was convicted of second-degree murder after a jury trial – full story from the Kingston Whig-Standard appended at bottom of this post.) A killer who served 10 years in prison for gunning down a man in broad daylight on a street in Kingston, Ontario, is one of two people charged in a savage home-invasion murder. Kingston Police announced today that they charged ex-convict Phillip Melville Moore, 32, and Charles Nathan Thomas, 29, with murder. Moore was freed from prison not long before the killing. On October 25, 2010, masked intruders burst into the north-end Kingston apartment of James Clifford Richards, 32. Witnesses told me at the time that they believed Richards was stabbed and his throat was slashed. The witnesses said they believed there were three attackers.
Within weeks of the murder, Moore was in custody, charged with breaching the conditions of a special supervision order that had been imposed on him in August last year. Police sought the legal leash because Moore is considered dangerous and investigators wanted to keep tabs on him. He had been freed from prison at the end of his sentence, with no conditions or supervision. Moore was a suspect in the October murder, sources told me, soon after the killing. He has been in custody since his arrest last year.
Moore killed 25-year-old James Livingstone in Kingston in April 1999. Livingstone was involved in a confrontation inside a convenience store with Moore and three companions, including two women. Moore went to his car, returned to the store with a handgun and confronted Livingstone as he was leaving the shop.
“You want some of me?” Moore asked Livingstone, before firing at him.
Livingstone ran toward the street and collapsed in the median, bleeding from the head. His horrified father watched the killing.
Moore pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was denied early release on supervision because he was considered too dangerous.
Sources also have told me that Moore is a suspect in penitentiary murder in Quebec, where he was behind bars. Veteran members of Kingston’s criminal justice system have told me they consider Moore one of the most dangerous people they have ever met.
Police say they expect to make more arrests in the Richards murder. At the time of his death, Richards was facing drug and weapons charges.
Here’s the release issued today by Kingston Police at a news conference:
10-34689 – Richards Homicide
Today we’ve asked you here to announce some developments in the James Richards homicide investigation.
First – some background on the incident:
On Monday October 25, 2010 at about 3:16 p.m. Kingston Police received a 911 call to attend apartment #309 at 25 Briceland regarding a violent attack on 32 year old – James Clifford RICHARDS by two male intruders. Emergency first aid was provided to Mr. Richards by police and Paramedics however tragically Mr. Richards died of his injuries before he could be transported to hospital.
An investigation was immediately initiated by the Criminal Investigations Division which over the following three months utilized – at various times – the assistance of the Kingston Police Forensic Identification Unit, Patrol Branch, Special Services Unit, the Emergency Response Unit and the Kingston Police Community Volunteers. These combined efforts have culminated in the arrest of two males for the murder of James Clifford Richards.
Yesterday – Monday January 31st – 29 year old Charles, Nathan THOMAS was arrested at a Kingston residence without incident and he was held in custody over night and appeared in court today charged with murder.
Earlier today a second male – 32 year old Phillip Melville MOORE was arrested at the Quinte Regional Detention Centre and brought to Provincial Court in Kingston where he too was charged with murder.
The arrests of Mr. Thomas and Mr. Moore complete the first phase of this investigation. We expect in the near future for there to be more arrests as the investigation has also proven that some people have willingly assisted one of or both of the accused in the minutes, hours and days following the murder.
Kingston Whig-Standard story of Moore’s conviction:
A jury has found Philip Melville Moore guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of James Clifford Richards, 32 months ago at his 25 Briceland St. apartment.
Moore has not yet been formally sentenced.
Superior Court Justice Gary Tranmer proposes to do that in mid-July, although he told the jury after they delivered their verdict, around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night, that the mandatory sentence for his crime is life imprisonment.
What remains to be determined is the judge’s recommendation on parole ineligibility.
Jury members were invited to offer their own recommendations on that question following their verdict and Tranmer told them that they were free to decline or suggest any number between 10 and 25 years. They weren’t required to be unanimous.
If they chose to make recommendations, however, he asked them to consider Moore’s character, so far as it was revealed to them by the evidence in the case; the nature of the crime; and the circumstances under which it was committed.
After retiring to their jury room for an additional 10 minutes, four members of the panel declined to make any recommendation to the judge, one suggested that Moore be ineligible for 15 years and seven recommended the maximum ineligibility of 25 years.
Over nine days of sittings, jurors heard testimony from 26 witnesses in the case, including Richards’ 25-year-old wife, Melissa Guyea, who was present on Oct. 25, 2010, when two masked men appeared in her bedroom door demanding money and drugs from her husband and threatening to kill her if he didn’t comply.
They also heard an account of the robbery gone bad from Charles Nathan Thomas, an admitted participant in the crime, who accepted a plea deal for manslaughter in 2011 and is currently serving a 10-year prison term at a medium-security prison.
Moore’s defence lawyer, Kathryn Wells, suggested to the jury that it was more likely Thomas wielded the knife against Richards and not her client.
But Thomas testified it was Moore who lashed out at the 33-year-old Richards after the intended victim stood up on his bed and punched Moore in the face.
Richards suffered a deep but non-lethal slash wound that passed from cheekbone to cheekbone, through his nose on the first strike described by Thomas. But Ottawa-based forensic pathologist Dr. Christopher Milroy testified the wound that killed him was a stab that penetrated behind his collar bone into his chest, cutting through his subclavian artery and a rib before penetrating his left lung.