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Accused killer: 'She's going to be the reason why I go to prison'

Union Leader Correspondent

May 14. 2018 8:16PM
Associate Attorney General Jane Young shows a photograph of murder victim Jo-Anne Boucher to jurors on the first day of testimony in Richard Moore's trial. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

Accused murderer Richard Moore listens to testimony Monday as his first-degree murder trial began. (Jason Schreiber)

BRENTWOOD — Richard Moore went into a “murderous rage” when his ex-girlfriend failed to pick him up after work, and after walking an hour to get home, he assaulted, stabbed and later burned her body inside her Danville home, a prosecutor said.

Testimony began Monday in the trial of the 38-year-old convicted sex offender who allegedly murdered Jo-Anne Boucher on Sept. 2, 2016, and then tried to cover up the crime.

In his opening statement, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said Moore later confessed to the killing to family and police.

Hinckley said Moore was angry at Boucher and had threatened to kill her in the hours before he allegedly stabbed her multiple times with a butcher knife in the residence at 23 Caramel Drive. 

“The defendant followed through on his threats. The defendant did what he had thought about for hours beforehand. He acted on his deadly intent that he had formed well before he got to Jo-Anne Boucher’s home on Friday, Sept. 2. He committed murder. He committed deliberate and premeditated murder,” Hinckley told jurors.

Public defender Kyle Robidas portrayed Moore as an innocent man who was wrongly accused and gave a “forced” and “fabricated” confession. 

“He ultimately admitted to a crime he did not commit,” he said, telling jurors that Moore was “in shock” and was confused.

Moore, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and arson.

Hinckley said Boucher and Moore, who was living in the house, were in the basement when they began arguing. He said Moore claimed Boucher pushed him and that he then punched her and knocked her unconscious onto the floor.

While Boucher was incapacitated but still alive, Hinckley said Moore used a butcher knife to stab her in the neck, chest and back “over and over and over again until he was sure she was dead.”

He said Moore then washed up, changed his clothes, took off in Boucher’s car and used her debit card to buy a new cellphone after he lost his during the attack.

Hinckley alleged Moore threw the murder weapon into the Piscataquog River in Manchester and also tossed his bloodied clothes in the city.

On the day after the killing, he said Moore returned to the home, piled debris over Boucher’s body, and set it on fire to make it “look like she died in an accidental house fire.”

Moore returned to the home on Sept. 5, 2016, expecting to find it had burned to the ground, Hinckley said, but found that the flames didn’t spread far and that all he noticed was the bottom of Boucher’s legs.

Moore called 911 to report there had been a fire and that he found human feet.

“There was not much left of the victim,” Hinckley said.

Robidas, the public defender, said a neighbor claimed to have seen Boucher and her dog on the night of Sept. 3 — the day after authorities claim she was killed.

Robidas also said there were no witnesses, no footprints, no murder weapon, and no blood found on Moore’s clothes or any of his belongings.

“From the beginning, Richard was the target,” he said.

Facebook, phone threats

During his testimony, Moore’s nephew, Timothy Leighton, 20, recalled the private Facebook messages Moore sent him before the killing.

“I am going to kill her,” Moore wrote at 3:36 p.m. on Sept. 2.

Leighton testified that he thought Moore was joking.

“I never assumed he would ever do something like that so I didn’t take him seriously,” he said.

About a half-hour earlier, Moore was walking to Boucher’s house when he received two cellphone calls from a prison inmate. The calls — recorded because they were made from jail — were played for jurors.

In the calls, Moore threatened to harm Boucher.

“She’s going to be the reason why I go to prison, I swear to God,” he could be heard saying.

In a tape recorded interview with a fire investigator after he called 911, Moore said he was dropped off to hang out with a homeless friend on the day prosecutors say Boucher was killed and that he was with friends throughout the weekend. He said that when he returned on Sept. 5 he could smell smoke.

“I went down into the basement to see what was going on,” he said in the interview.

That’s where he said he saw a pile of ashes and what looked like bare feet.

He was later asked if he knew of anyone who would want to hurt Boucher. He answered that he couldn’t think of anyone.

State witness Jeremie Vanagel testified that he worked with Moore at a local landscaping company and that Moore had complained in the past about how Boucher wanted him to pay rent at her house. 

Boucher’s niece, Nicolle Desmarais, testified that the two had dated at some point but were no longer together. However, she said he had moved back in with her as a “tenant” just before the murder.

Moore faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. Testimony could wrap up by the end of the week.

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