Prosecution of 'Teflon Defendant' progresses with indictment on PCP, gun charges

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.
By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 21, 2010; 11:13 PM

Corey Moore, the local legend known as the "Teflon Defendant" for beating a series of violent criminal charges including murder, was indicted this week on allegations that he tried to move more than a kilogram of PCP, federal officials said Thursday.

The indictment, which also includes gun and cocaine charges, arrived less than a month after a simple police stop in Takoma Park, when a patrolman saw Moore, 35, walking down the street with what the officer said appeared to be a bottle of alcohol. The officer started to get out of his cruiser. Moore took off. The officer chased him. The subsequent arrest became the talk of area law enforcement officials, who, for more than 10 years and through much more complicated means, failed in cases against Moore.

Among their unproven allegations: Moore murdered three people, committed armed robbery, assaulted a man with intent to kill him, and kept an "assassin's tool kit" hanging from a coat rack inside his home that held a .357 magnum and a ski mask.

Family members and supporters of Moore, a man who can be soft-spoken and polite, have long said he is the victim of unjust arrests and overcooked prosecutions. The latest news hardly shocked them.

"I'm not terribly surprised," said Amira Williams, Moore's former wife, who is still close with him. She said certain federal authorities have it in for Moore.

"They're invested in this. They're invested in seeing him do life," she said.

Vandy L. Jamison, Moore's attorney, said he expects his client to be exonerated after a fair and impartial trial.

The indictment, handed up late Wednesday, lists four counts: possession with intent to distribute PCP; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession of two handguns in furtherance of drug trafficking; possessing those guns as a felon. Federal authorities said Moore faces a maximum penalty of life in prison on the charges.

Prosecutors also will try to seize Moore's 1998 BMW, 2001 Acura MDX and $45,057 in cash, court records show. Moore remains locked up in the Montgomery County jail, an official there said Thursday.

The county's top prosecutor, John McCarthy, said police consulted with his office and federal prosecutors, and everyone decided Moore would be subject to more prison time if the case went federal. "I think this was the right call," McCarthy said.

The case stems from events the evening of Sept. 25.

Takoma Park police officer Keith Hubley said he saw a man walking along Sherman Avenue with a bottle. Before he had a chance to get out of his car, Hubley said in a report, Moore took off down a hill - and tossed a clear package toward a dumpster before crossing Maple Avenue and running into a fenced-in construction site.

The package turned out to contain 1.2 pounds of cocaine, police said. When detectives later searched Moore's nearby apartment, they found cash, two guns, and the PCP, which was in liquid form, according to police.

To Williams, and others who know Moore, the story makes no more sense now than it did a month ago - owing to Moore's smarts and habits, for starters. He is a health food nut who consumes Tahitian noni juice, not alcohol, they say.

"The whole idea that he was walking down the street, drinking, with that amount of weight on him and then just wants to be a smart aleck with a cop, and then run, and throw something" doesn't make sense, said Williams. "It just absolutely blows me away."

In Takoma Park, meanwhile, Police Chief Ronald Ricucci said he has heard from a lot of colleagues from other agencies. "I've had a lot of congratulations," he said. "Everyone in this business knows you run into lucky breaks."

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