Driveway shooting death trial underway

May 21, 2019

IRONTON — An 11-woman, three-man jury with two alternates heard opening statements Monday afternoon in the aggravated murder trial of James W. Moore in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Moore, 50, of Township Road 252 in Ironton, is charged with the fatal shooting of Homer F. Crank, 43, on Aug. 27, 2018, in the driveway of Moore’s home. Judge Christen Finley is presiding over the trial.

Brigham Anderson, county prosecuting attorney, said Moore lied to investigators, claiming the shooting was in self-defense.

Moore told investigators Crank was armed with a baseball bat “and kept coming at me so I shot him.”

“The evidence will show that was all a lie,” Anderson told the jury in his opening statement.

The prosecutor said the pair drank beer, vodka and Southern Comfort over two-and-a-half to three hours. “They sat and talked and drank.”

At one point, Moore came out of his house with two beers and a baseball bat, Anderson said. Crank then used the bat to smash a Jeep in Moore’s driveway “until he gets tired.” Crank later used a pry bar to smash up the vehicle.

Moore then used the handgun to shoot Crank five times, Anderson said. The shooting was captured on two of Moore’s eight home security cameras. Instead of calling 911, Moore called friends and his mother before tampering with evidence by moving the pry bar close to Crank’s body, the prosecutor said.

“He did this with prior calculation and design,” Anderson said. The jury will have to agree to return a verdict of aggravated murder.

Anderson said Moore got mad that Crank was dating a woman who was close to receiving an inheritance and then planned to kill him.

Mike Davenport, an Ironton defense counsel representing Moore, said that if his client planned to murder Crank, why didn’t he shut off his security cameras.

He called the shooting a case of suicide — “Fred Crank wanted to die,” Davenport said.

He also called the shooting a case of self-defense and that Crank was the aggressor.

Davenport said Crank didn’t have the wherewithal to kill himself.

“There was some violent behavior, strange behavior,” Davenport said. “It was very bizarre.”

The jury will see the view from at least one of the security cameras, he said.

Anderson said the trial could take up to a week. The jury viewed the scene before opening statements in the trial Monday afternoon.

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