Death Penalty Not Sought in Calvert Case

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Calvert County state's attorney's office said Friday it will not seek the death penalty against Graham D. Buckmaster, who is accused of killing his former girlfriend in Chesapeake Beach on New Year's Eve.

Buckmaster, 57, who ran a seafood restaurant in Chesapeake Beach, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Lisa M. Moore, 40, who had worked with him at the restaurant.

The state's attorney's office said in a statement that after reviewing the relevant laws and discussing the issue with Moore's family and investigators, "there is insufficient legal basis to seek the death penalty for Graham Buckmaster."

In Maryland, the death penalty is restricted to first-degree murder cases in which the crime is committed in combination with one or more aggravating factors. Those factors include such circumstances as a murder involving a law enforcement officer, a murder for hire, or a murder while also committing first-degree arson, carjacking, first-degree rape, robbery or first-degree sexual assault.

"While [Buckmaster] has been indicted for first-degree murder, none of the listed aggravators apply to the facts that the State will produce at the time of the trial. Accordingly, we are precluded from seeking a penalty of death in this matter," the statement said.

Moore and Buckmaster had been involved in a volatile relationship for several years. Twice in recent years, he had been convicted of assaulting her, and she had sought and obtained a protective order against him that kept him from coming to the house they once shared on Cox Road.

On New Year's Eve, Moore and her new boyfriend, Victor Estep, came home to find Buckmaster in her house, Estep said. After telling Moore to leave, Estep said he went out to his truck to get his cell phone to call police. On his way back, he said, he heard a gunshot. Moore died at the scene.

Buckmaster fled and was apprehended three days after the killing as he was driving through the Cumberland Gap into Tennessee. He was extradited to Calvert County. He is being held in the county detention center as he awaits trial.

Moore was the mother of a 17-year-old daughter who lived with her in Chesapeake Beach and a 20-year-old son who lives with his father in Laurel.

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