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Arizona man convicted of 1987 cold case killing of his tenant

A Texas jury convicted Larry Leroy Moore of capital murder on Friday for the 1987 killing of his tenant Dianna “Dee Dee” Lowery, closing a case that took 35 years to bring to trial.

SAN ANTONIO — A state jury in San Antonio convicted Larry Leroy Moore on Friday afternoon of capital murder for the January 1987 killing of his next door neighbor and tenant in a case that took over three decades to solve.

The 12-member jury deliberated for just over six hours before rejecting Moore’s decades-old claim that he had nothing to do with the brutal rape and murder of 25-year-old Dianne “Dee Dee” Lowery.

Moore, 69, of Prescott, Arizona, will be automatically sentenced to life in prison after prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty. Defense attorneys said Friday afternoon that they would appeal the verdict.

“He was 33-years-old at the time,” Bexar County prosecutor Talia Triesch told jurors during closing arguments Friday morning. “He played basketball, threw darts, mowed lawns sometimes…he also raped and murdered his tenant. Why did he do it? What’s the motive? We may never know. But that he did do it — that we know.”

Prosecutors said Moore used a key he had to the apartment duplex he rented to Lowery and her boyfriend to break into their residence in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, 1987 while her boyfriend, Dale Andrew Martin, was at work.

According to trial testimony, Martin followed a “smell of death” when he returned home that evening before discovering her body in the bathtub where she was sexually assaulted, bound and gagged while still wearing her bathrobe and socks. She was left with duct tape over her mouth, injuries throughout her body and feces on her socks.

Defense attorneys argued that mistakes in DNA, including possible contamination at the crime scene, a “poor” investigation that excluded reasonable suspects and a lack of motive on Moore’s part provided reasonable doubt for jurors to find him not guilty.

“It doesn’t make sense, there’s no motive,” defense attorney Mark McKay told jurors on Friday. “There’s no reason to kill her.”

Jurors heard from five prosecution witnesses during the week-long trial and reviewed evidence more than 35 years old, including DNA found on rectal swabs that prosecutors said belong to Moore.

Moore had been arrested for the crime in 2005 before the charges were dismissed two years later, court records show. He was re-indicted in February 2018 after a relative of Lowery’s prompted cold case investigators to reopen the case.

Moore, who had been out on bond, was immediately remanded to the custody of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department at the close of trial before he is transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

While capital murder convictions in Texas carry penalties of either life without the possibility of parole or death, Moore will be parole eligible in 40 years because he was sentenced under 1987 penal law.

He would be 110 years-old in 2062.

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