On the evening of the murder, John
Moore was with his brother-in-law, Richard Nichols. Mr.
Nichols agreed to give two men, Mr. Gordon Stevens and Mr. Terrance
Hogan a ride to downtown Sault Ste. Marie, where the two men were
dropped off. Mr. Moore and Richard Nichols went looking for
parties and were seen together throughout the evening by a number of
people. At approximately 4:00 a.m. the next morning, they met
the two men they had given a ride to at a house party.
Sometime between the time of their being dropped off downtown and
their chance meeting at the party, Mr. Hogan and Mr. Stevens robbed
and killed a cab driver, Don Lanthier.
The first court case took place in
1979. Mr. Moore was charged with first degree murder along
with both Mr.. Stevens and Mr. Hogan. What is really
interesting about this is Mr. Nichols, who was with Mr. Moore for
most of the evening, had all charges against him dropped. He
was the only "white man" in the quartet that was
originally charged with the crime, and he was the only one let off
without a trial in return for his testimony against his three
co-accused. Mr. Moore was convicted on the evidence presented
against him by the Crown Attorney on the charge of second degree
murder. He won his appeal and a new trial was ordered
for September 20, 1982. At this time he was charged with
second degree murder.
In the second trial, lots of
information obtained from the witnesses against Mr. Moore in the
first trial was denied or forgotten by the witnesses. Also,
information was disallowed by the judge of the case that had been
allowed in the first trial. For example, Officer Burns' notes
from the day of the arrest were disallowed, as they had too many
missing and garbled pieces to be considered as true evidence.
The three main witnesses, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Hogan and Officer Burns,
in the case against Mr. Moore basically changed their stories so
much as to be almost a different story altogether. Mr. Hogan's
memory was so bad that he couldn't remember making statements even
after they were read back to him. Mr. Nichol's story was so
inconsistent that the judge said, "I think what Mr. Douglas is
trying to do, for our benefit, is to go over and see whether this is
-- I think, under these circumstances, all of us would like to know
when we were getting the straight story and when we were getting
something that was deliberately left out, and when we were getting
something that was a cover-up.
We've got so many statements,
and so many stories, he seemed to me, according to the evidence that
came in , he agreed to everything anybody would put to him. It
would assist all of us if we knew what he says he believes to be the
truth." This was said in regards to Mr. Nichols
testimony, after he had been testifying for some time. He
changed his story from the first trial to the second so much, and so
often that the Crown, the Judge and the Defense had trouble deciding
whose witness he was.
The reason John was charged with
murder was not because he was at the scene, which he wasn't, but
rather was because the Crown Attorney had a theory. The
Crown's theory was not that John had committed the murder, but
rather that he had masterminded the plan in which the cab driver was
killed. The theory was that Mr. Gordon Stevens and Mr.
Terrance Hogan weren't intelligent enough to come up with the idea
of robbing and killing Mr. Lanthier on their own, they needed help.
As a matter of fact, the theory was that Mr. Lanthier was killed
because he was dating Mr. Stevens' ex-girlfriend. Whether this is
true or not is irrelevant, as neither of these two men put Mr.
Moore at the scene of the crime on the night of the murder.
They also did not indicate that Mr. Moore was in any way
involved in the planning of the death of Mr. Lanthier.
Although there were other witnesses
against Mr. Moore, these three were the main witnesses against Mr.
Moore, the only ones who could say anything about what was seen,
done, or said in regards to this crime. As soon as there
testimony became unbelievable, Mr. Moore and his attorney both
believed they had the Crown's case beat. Despite the judge's
directions to the jury, who were all of white heritage, and despite
the Crown's inability to present a case against Mr. Moore that put
him at the scene or in charge of the planning of the crime, he still
found himself convicted of murder for a second time.