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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Civil Suit in California Farm Murder

COLUSA, Calif. (CN) - A widow sued a California farm family, one of whose members planted a bomb that killed her husband.

Maria Ayala's husband, Roberto Ayala, was killed when a bomb exploded in a rice field irrigation pump on July 16, 2011.

She sued Moore Brothers farm and three Moores - brothers Arlan and Roger and Roger's son Paul - in Colusa County Court.

Paul Moore was convicted in August 2013 of first-degree murder with special circumstances. A Sacramento County jury found him guilty on Aug. 23. He faces life in prison without parole

The widow claims in the lawsuit that "Paul Moore ... wrongfully and tortiously planted a bomb at an irrigation pump at defendant Moore Brothers' rice field with the intention of killing decedent. On July 16, 2011, the bomb planted by defendant Paul Moore exploded and proximately caused decedent's death."

The Ayalas' son saw it happen. The 7-year-old saw his father catch on fire, and ran 2 miles to get help, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Paul Moore is Roger Moore's son and "was set to inherit Roger Moore's 50 percent interest in the company. Defendant Paul Moore was, therefore, a de facto supervisor of decedent," according to the lawsuit.

Yet Paul Moore was hired to work under Ayala, who was a foreman, the widow says.

She claims that "Paul Moore harbored ill will and feelings of hatred, resentment and personal malice against decedent, engendered by his employment with defendant Moore Brothers."

She claims that Roger and Arlan Moore "knew or should have known of the personal malice harbored by defendant Paul Moore," and that "Paul Moore has a history of criminal activity/concealment/deceit and assault, including prior convictions for wire tapping and assault with intent to commit rape."

"Despite this advance knowledge of defendant Paul Moore's criminal history, his proclivity for criminal violence and the hierarchy of employment status between defendant Paul Moore and decedent, defendants Moore Brothers, Arlan Moore and Roger Moore retained defendant Paul Moore as an employee in conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others," the widow says.

She seeks punitive damages for negligence and wrongful death.

She is represented by Virginia Gingery, of Chico, who declined to comment.

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