Stamford man pleads guilty to 2015 slaying
STAMFORD — Nearly three years after the slaying of a mother of five in a West Side park, one of the men charged in the murder has pleaded guilty.
Morris Moore, 27, of Stamford, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree manslaughter with a firearm and will be sentenced in December to 20 years in jail.
Moore and two others were arrested shortly after 43-year-old Maxine Gooden was struck by stray gunfire in Lione Park in November 2015.
Moore’s attorney, Francis O’Reilly, declined to comment on the case after the hearing. Moore was given a 10-year suspended sentence that he can be forced to serve if he violates his five years of probation when he’s released from jail.
O’Reilly told Judge Gary White that his client’s plea was not contingent on any cooperation with the state.
The man police believe to be the shooter, Johonel Telemin, 24, also of Stamford, declined a plea agreement to the same charge that would have kept him in jail for 25 years.
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek then rescinded the offer and Telemin’s case appears headed for trial next year.
Telenin’s attorney, Robert Bello, declined to comment as he left the courthouse.
Deshawn Hayes, 27, the third man charged in the murder, was given another week to consider the same offer Moore accepted. His attorney, Darnell Crosland, said he did not have enough time to talk to Hayes about the plea agreement after Moore took the deal.
“A lot of work goes into these cases, especially one like this when there are three defendants,” said Sgt. Paul Guzda, the lead police investigator in the case. “We are happy with this outcome and we feel this is a victory and I trust the family of Maxine Gooden feels the same way.”
The shooting occurred around 10 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2015. Several gunshots rang out in the park and Gooden, standing next to two of her daughters, dropped to the ground and was pronounced dead at Stamford Hospital a short time later.
Two witnesses chased the shooter and another man back to a Jeep parked on Delaware Avenue. The witnesses followed the Jeep and notified police of the license plate number.
Officer Nicole Petrenko spotted the SUV and other officers arrived to help pull the three men out of the vehicle. Ferencek said officers found a gun hidden in the dashboard that was consistent with the bullets found at the scene. All three men in the car tested positive for gunshot residue, Ferencek said.
“We have the evidence, we have good witnesses and good physical evidence,” Guzda said. “We feel good about everything.”