1.05.2008

TS - 01/05/2008 Key witnesses' past testimony

Key witnesses' past testimony

Of the 47 witnesses called to testify during the criminal grand jury proceedings looking into the 2006 shooting death of Cheri Lyn Moore, at least 27 testified at the coroner's inquest held in September 2006. Here are summaries of what 10 of them called to testify at both the inquest and the criminal grand jury proceedings said at the inquest:

Craig Pasquini (Humboldt County Mental Health case manager)

Pasquini testified he requested a welfare check for Cheri Lyn Moore after a 16-minute phone call. She said she had a flare gun, was not a terrorist, she was not suicidal and she was not homicidal, but was grieving over the loss of her son. Pasquini quoted her as saying she was going to blow up her apartment building and jump out the window, that she had warned neighbors and didn't want to hurt anybody.

Kevin Lawson (Eureka police officer)

Lawson testified he and two other officers tried to get Moore to answer her door. They knocked and said they were police. Said Moore pointed a gun at him and other officers when they tried to enter apartment using landlord's key. Lawson testified that he briefed the chief and scene commander after backup arrived.

Todd Wilcox (EPD officer)

Wilcox

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was the SWAT team commander the day of the shooting. He testified about the command structure for the incident and options discussed by those in charge. He testified that SWAT members waited for word from one of the observers from across the street before acting. Once the observer said Moore was at the window and her hands were free, SWAT members rammed open the door and the shots were fired, Wilcox testified.
Marcus Smith (a friend of Moore's)

Smith testified he was able to reach Moore by cell phone during the standoff, but police ordered him not to talk to her. While talking to Moore, he tried to convince her to come downstairs and talk to police. He said he felt an “energy” in the air and knew that Moore was going to be shot.

Phyliss Wilner (Humboldt County Mental Health emergency psychiatric nurse)

Wilner described a distraught call from Moore about one hour after the first, saying she could see people in the hallway and she would shoot if they came in. Wilner said a co-worker called 911. She told Moore the people in the hall were police.

Ron Harpham (EPD detective and SWAT observer)

Harpham testified that he had a level view of Moore's apartment from his observation area across the street. He said when another observer announced Moore's hands were free, he saw her right hand reach for something out of view and then he saw a glimpse of orange. He said he heard muffled pops and saw the flashes from the rifles from across the street.

Rocky Harpham (SWAT member who fired some of the fatal shots)

Harpham testified officers knew where Moore was in the apartment “most of the time” because of observers positioned across the street. He said he yelled for Moore to put her arms in the air as they entered. He said she turned and pointed the gun and he fired.

Neither of the commanders indicted in the Moore case testified during the criminal grand jury proceedings, but here are summaries of their testimonies at the coroner's inquest:

David Douglas (former chief of police)

Douglas testified he did not take over command at the scene but was ultimately responsible. He said there were concerns about the flare gun causing a fire, and that it would spread rapidly because of a crawl space above Moore's apartment. Douglas testified mental health workers were not called to the scene because they did not at the time do field responses. He said police and mental heath officials were working to establish a protocol for responding to locations involving individuals with mental illnesses.

Tony Zanotti (EPD lieutenant)

Zanotti testified that he was the incident commander and that there were several plans made based on Moore's actions. He said he believed the threats Moore were making to burn down the building were real and needed to be taken seriously. He also testified that there were no discussions about bringing mental health personnel to the scene.

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