Fugitive hangs himself

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

Maryland man was one of ‘America’s Most Wanted’


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE — A maximum-security inmate at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center in Hahnville, who was captured by St. Charles Parish on Christmas Eve, attempted to hang himself Wednesday, according to authorities with the Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Dwayne LaGrange, a spo kesman for the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, said Ronald Lee Moore, 40 of Maryland was taken into custody on December 24 after attempting to burglarize two homes in the Destrehan area. Moore had been listed as one of America’s Most Wanted Fugitives at the time of his capture, and is connected to a lengthy rap sheet of charges in Maryland ranging from simple burglary to rape.

According to a sheriff’s release, Moore was found hanging in his cell by deputies passing out dinner trays to inmates around 4 p.m. Wednesday. Moore was hanging by the drawstring of a mesh laundry bag tied to the air-conditioning vent over a toilet in his jail cell.

The release said deputies quickly untied Moore, and nurses at the facility began CPR immediately. After about two minutes, Moore started breathing and registered weak vital signs.

Moore was transferred to St. Charles Hospital, and later to Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson Parish where he remains in very critical condition.

LaGrange said in the early morning hours of December 24, Deputy Ronald Newman responded to a burglary alarm at a house in the 2300 block of Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan. Upon arrival, the deputy observed a white male, later identified as Moore, exiting the home through a back door. Investigation would later reveal that Moore was attempting to break into the residence when the alarm sounded. The suspect also made an unsuccessful attempt to burglarize the house next door.

LaGrange said Moore gave a fictitious name while being questioned by the deputy, but when he was later fingerprinted at the correctional center, the name and the prints did not match up.

LaGrange said after running the prints through a state database and finding no match, the prints were entered in a nationwide computer system known as AFIS (Automated Fingerprinting Identification System) that revealed Moore’s true identity.

St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne said Moore was mistakenly released from the Baltimore City Correctional Center in November of 2007 after a detention order pertaining to rape charges against Moore was disregarded.

Authorities in Maryland said while Moore was serving time for assault and burglary, a DNA hit in 2006 connected him to a 1999 sexual assault in which Moore broke into a woman’s apartment, shocked the victim with a cattle prod, and forced her to perform sexual acts on him. Correctional employees were instructed to hold him on those charges, but the order was overlooked, and Moore had not been seen since.

LaGrange said Moore was not on suicide watch, and the staff of the correctional center received no information stating that he should have been. An inmate in the cell next to Moore’s said Moore had spoken to him about ten minutes before he was found and seemed fine.

LaGrange said Moore was being held without bound at Nelson Coleman on the local charges of burglary. He is awaiting extradition back to Maryland to face a long list of charges.