Murder defendant rejects plea deal, heads for trial

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week in Superior Court in Norwich in the case of a 23-year-old man accused of fatally shooting Namdi Smart on Lake Street in Norwich in August 2010.

Darnell X. Moore has opted for a trial rather than accept the state’s offer to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence.

Prosecutor David J. Smith and defense attorney Norman A. Pattis will begin selecting a panel of 12 jurors and two or three alternates on Wednesday. The trial is expected to begin on Dec. 6 before Judge Barbara B. Jongbloed.

Moore, also known as “Boo-Boo,” has been held in lieu of $1.8 million bond at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution while his case was pending.

According to Norwich police, about 20 people were hanging out around 35 Lake St., shooting dice, drinking and playing cards, when Smart confronted Moore after Moore robbed a man and slashed his arm with a box cutter and stole a bottle of vodka belonging to Smart.

A witness told police Smart and Moore were “chest to chest” and that Smart, who was bigger than Moore, dared Moore to try robbing him. Moore left, pointing his fingers at Smart like a gun and saying, “I got something for you later,” according to the warrant.

The same witness told police she was in her apartment when she saw Moore come back to Lake Street wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over his head. She said that with a lot of witnesses looking on, Moore came around the side of the house and confronted Smart, who was sitting on the steps.

She said Moore told Smart, “I told you I’d be back.” Then, as Smart tried to stand up and pull a gun out of his waistband, Moore put his gun to the left side of Smart’s head and shot him.

The trial will be held in Norwich because another murder case is on trial in New London Superior Court. In that case, which is set to begin Dec. 5, Irene R. Reynolds, 41, is accused of fatally beating and strangling her mother, Bertha Reynolds, at her home at 84 Laurel Hill Ave., Norwich, on July 9, 1993.

— Karen Florin

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