Deliberations under way at Moore murder trial

Jurors started deliberating Friday in the murder trial of 23-year-old Darnell Moore in Norwich.

Moore is accused of shooting Namdi Smart in the head after the two of them had an altercation on Lake Street, Norwich, on Aug. 26, 2010.

Prosecutor David J. Smith rested the state's case after calling on police, a medical examiner and six eyewitnesses. Defense attorney Norman A. Pattis also rested after noting his client had opted to not testify on his own behalf.

In his closing argument to the jury, Smith said the state had shown that Moore had the motive, opportunity and means to murder Smart. The shooting took place in front of a Lake Street apartment building where a group of people had gathered to drink and smoke drugs.

"He was angry after being 'jacked up,' '' Smith said.

Witnesses had testified that Moore, known as "Boo-Boo," and Smart, known as "Dee," argued over a bottle of vodka and Smart ripped Moore's shirt. They said Moore left after telling Smart, "I'll be back," and making a shooting gesture with his fingers.

Moore called a friend, Samuel Gomez, who testified he brought a .45-caliber pistol from New London to Norwich and gave it to Moore. Gomez said he dropped Moore off at the scene, heard a pop, and that Moore came back to the car with the gun.

Five women who were at the apartment building testified they saw Moore return to the scene and, in some cases, that they saw him shoot Smart in the neck.

Pattis attempted to pick apart each of their stories. Gomez, facing serious criminal charges, is trying to get "a walk" by testifying, he said. One of the woman was admittedly high on liquor, marijuana and crack, he said, and had insisted her daughter went to school with Moore even though they are different ages. Another said she saw the shooting but not a gun in Moore's hand. The state didn't even bother to re-question one witness, a woman who is in prison on arson charges, he said.

"We don't have to prove somebody else killed Mr. Big Man (Smart)," Pattis said. "The people who put Mr. Moore there, we have reason to doubt."

Moore faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted. The jury will continue deliberating Monday.

k.florin@theday.com

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