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Testimony: Accused killer told police, 'I just snapped,' when he stabbed ex-girlfriend and set her on fire

Union Leader Correspondent

May 16. 2018 10:00PM
In an interview with state police investigators after his arrest, accused killer Richard Moore confessed to killing Jo-Anne Boucher. The recorded interview was played for jurors Wednesday in his murder trial. (Jason Schreiber/Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — After spending about an hour repeatedly denying that he had anything to do with the brutal 2016 murder of Jo-Anne Boucher and claiming that he loved her, Richard Moore admitted to police that he stabbed her and set her on fire.

“I just snapped. I don’t know what came over me,” a calm Moore told state police investigators during a two-hour videotaped interview shortly after his arrest in Manchester on Sept. 9, 2016.

While smoking cigarettes in an interview room at the Manchester Police Department, the 38-year-old Moore told police that he was the only person involved in the slaying and that he hit her once in the head in the basement of her home at 23 Caramel Drive in Danville.

“It was just spontaneous; it was just a reaction,” he said on the recorded interview that was played for jurors Wednesday during the third day of testimony in his first-degree murder trial in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Moore told how his ex-girlfriend fell to the floor and how then he went upstairs, grabbed a butcher knife, and returned to the basement to begin stabbing her.

“Nobody has anything to do with this but me, not a single soul,” he said.

The confession, which his defense team has claimed was “forced” and “fabricated,” came after he insisted that he wasn’t involved while being interrogated by state police Sgt. William Bright, who is assigned to the Major Crime Unit and testified Wednesday, and another investigator.

Moore gave some conflicting statements but maintained his innocence for about the first hour of the interview. He claimed he and Boucher had argued at times about “stupid things” and that he would become “aggravated,” but he never hit her.

On Sept. 2, 2016 — the day prosecutors say Boucher was killed — Moore expressed his frustration that she didn’t pick him up after work and that he ended up walking about 45 minutes to get to her home, which is where he was living.

At one point the sergeant noted that Moore appeared emotionless over the death of the woman he had dated on and off but was upset when he learned that his friends had died in a fire in Manchester a few months earlier.

“I’ve done my fair share of crying,” he said, adding, “I cry, but I’ll cry on my own time. I usually don’t cry in front of people.”

Moore described himself as a person with no violent tendencies who has been a “loner” for most of his life.

After police told him that he wasn’t a “monster” and that a conversation he had with his sister in a car ride in which he admitted to the killing had been recorded, Moore appeared surprised.

“Whatever, it’s over,” he told police.

At that point, Moore’s story changed and he confessed, offering specific details about the murder and how he returned to the house the next day to cover Boucher’s body with sheets and other materials that he then set ablaze. Moore said he hoped the fire would burn the house down and appear accidental, and that he was surprised when he showed up on Sept. 5 to find the fire had not spread. While her body was burned, the house was still standing.

Earlier in the day, Moore’s sister, January Leighton, testified that he had confessed to her and she recalled showing him a story in the New Hampshire Union Leader about the death before Moore was arrested and charged.

She claims he didn’t appear fazed by the article and stated, “This is nothing. I know I’m screwed. I’ve just got to wait until they come and get me,” Leighton said.

Under cross examination, public defender Joseph Malfitani asked Leighton if she had tried to manipulate Moore into admitting to the killing.

“No,” she said.

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