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'Teflon Defendant' walks straight into trouble

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Takoma Park police chief Ronald Ricucci talks about the arrest of Corey Moore, the 'Teflon Defendant.' Moore's neighbor gives an account of the scene.

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By Dan Morse
Saturday, October 9, 2010; 11:00 PM

To hear the police tell it, luck finally ran out for Corey Moore, the Washington street legend long known as the "Teflon Defendant."

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It happened not from the wiretaps, high-powered prosecutors, three murder cases or seven trials that failed in the past. A patrolman from a small suburban police force spotted him walking down a tree-lined street, holding what looked like an open bottle of beer.

Moore, 35, inexplicably ran - leading the cop down a hill, around a corner and into a fenced-in construction site.

"Come over here boss," a fellow officer would later tell their chief back at the police station. "Look at who we got."

It was Moore, once listed by the FBI as one of the most dangerous people in the District. The man who beat three murder charges, who walked free after he was accused of a shooting and a robbery, could soon go down, police said. In a case reminiscent of Al Capone's ultimate undoing, police say they have air-tight evidence that Moore was carrying cocaine - lots of it.

They allege he was carrying a half-kilo of cocaine, which he tossed toward a dumpster while trying to get away. Back at his apartment, officers found a gallon of liquid PCP, valued at $77,000, a loaded Smith & Wesson, a .44-caliber semiautomatic and $44,000 cash, according to police accounts.

He remained locked up Saturday in the Montgomery County jail, facing the possibility of more than 20 years in prison.

"We took somebody off the street that a lot of people have been after for a lot of years," Police Chief Ronald Ricucci said.

Moore's family and supporters have long said he was the target of bad arrests and unjust prosecutions.

"Corey wants to do the right thing," family member Joan Watson said in an interview years ago as Moore prepared to be tried for the fourth time on one murder charge. "But the police and prosecutors, the FBI, they won't leave him alone. They can't convict him of what they say he did, but they won't let him go."

His attorney in the case, Vandy L. Jamison, said his client would be vindicated.

"I believe that once a fair and impartial investigation is concluded and all the facts are known, the truth and a fair trial will establish Corey's lack of involvement," Jamison said.


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