Gadsden couple's killer still on death row
by Lisa Rogers
The Gadsden Times
Nov 19, 2012 | 2716 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GADSDEN (AP) — Michael Shannon Taylor is 40 years old.

He sits on death row at Holman Prison, awaiting execution in the beating deaths of Ernest and Lucille Moore.

This month marks 21 years since the 19-year-old talked his way inside their Mitchell Boulevard home with plans to kill them and steal their car and money.

The Moores knew Taylor. He had cut their grass. He got a friend to drop him off that afternoon in front of their house and he hid a duffel bag with a black barbell inside.

He knocked on their door.

"Ernie came to the door and I asked him if I could come in and use the phone," Taylor wrote in his confession five days later. "He let me in and I walked over to the phone (and) acted as if I was using it."

Ernest, a small man, and the teen made small talk, and then Ernest asked him if he was thirsty. When Taylor told him yes, he went to the kitchen and got him some water and a doughnut.

Then Taylor watched television a few minutes before the two talked about the Army and Navy. At the time, Taylor was a U.S. Navy Gunner's Mate, but was AWOL.

"He showed me a picture where he used to work on airplanes," Taylor wrote.

Minutes later, Taylor went outside, got the barbell, hid it in his shirt and went back inside.

Taylor and the Moores talked for a few minutes and then Ernest asked him if he wanted anything else to eat.

"I told him yes and he got up to go to the kitchen," Taylor said. "I followed him to the kitchen and his wife stayed in the den. He opened the refrigerator and then I pulled out the barbell and hit him (in) the back of the head," he wrote.

He hit Ernest two or three times and he fell to the floor. Lucille heard the noise and went in the kitchen.

"When she bent down over him, I hit her in the back of the head," he wrote. "Then he was talking and acting as if he was trying to crawl off so I went back to him and hit him several more times. I really don't know how many times I hit him because my adrenaline was pumping. Then she was trying to say something to me so I hit her again with the barbell."

Taylor got the billfold from Ernest's pocket and went to use the bathroom. When he returned to the kitchen, he took the keys to the Moores' Cadillac off Ernest's belt loop.

He got Lucille's purse and left, leaving the Moores for dead.

Taylor took their car and drove toward downtown, on the backside of the mountain on North Eighth Street. He threw out the barbell, then made a check out to himself and cashed it at a bank.

He headed to Birmingham and threw Lucille's purse in a garbage bin. He continued to spend the Moores' money and drive their car.

"I drove the car five days until the police caught me in it," he wrote.

It was the first murder investigation for Gadsden police detectives Mike Garigues and Pam Geer, who with the help of Johnny Grant, investigator at the time for District Attorney Jim Hedgspeth, arrested Taylor outside a Birmingham restaurant.

Even with a detailed confession and throughout the court proceedings, Grant said, Taylor never showed emotion.

Grant said Taylor, in a lineup, would have been the last person anyone would think could do something like this.

"He looked like a clean-cut young man," Grant said.

Lisa Moore is married to the Moores' only son, Johnny, and they lived in Mississippi at the time.

Lisa always called her in-laws on Sundays and Wednesdays to check on them, and had talked to them Sunday, Nov. 3. When she didn't get an answer to her usual Wednesday call, she called neighbors to get them to check on the Moores.

When the neighbor went to the Moores' house, he could hear Lucille calling for help.

Ernest already was dead, but Lucille lived several more days.

Lisa made a vow to her mother-in-law.

"I promised her to see this through," she said.

Lisa said each year, on the anniversary of the attack, the memories return — and she wants to make sure nobody forgets about the victims.

"There is no closure," she said.

Taylor's writ of habeas corpus in U.S. District Court was denied in September. In October, however, he filed a motion for the judge to alter the judgment.

Appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court remain, and Taylor's conviction must be upheld before an execution date is set.

The process has taken too long, Lisa said.

"Criminals are protected, but there is nothing for the victims," she said. "We've been waiting for 21 years."

Hedgspeth, now retired as district attorney, agrees it has taken too long.

"I don't know where the fault lies, whether it's with the attorney general's office or the federal court system," he said. "But there is fault somewhere."

Hedgspeth said it takes a long time to get through the appeals process.

He said in the case of convicted killer Glen Holladay, whose death sentence was overturned, attorneys had time to "manufacture a defense of being mentally retarded."

"Everybody who knew Glen knew he was not retarded," Hedgspeth said. "He was functionally illiterate. He ended up cheating the system."

Holladay since has died in prison.

Hedgspeth said the Moore slayings were cold-blooded.

"He knew them and they were good to him," Hedgspeth said. "He went there knowing he was going to kill them. From what we found out about the Moores during the case, they would probably gave him the car and money. It was senseless. They were just two kind, elderly people."

Hedgspeth said the system needs some changes.

"It has taken too long for the Moore family to see justice is done and have closure," she said.

Lisa said she has sent letter after letter, asking for the process to be speeded up.

She said Taylor watches TV, plays volleyball and has access to computers and the Internet. She said he has or has had at least four websites, and often writes to describe his experiences on death row.

"He describes Alabama as being barbaric, racist and prejudiced," she said.

Lisa said she and her husband believe justice will be served when the death sentence is carried out.

"There should be more protection for the victims," she said. "This case is so clear cut. We want the people to know and not forget about the victims."

Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Most Recommended

Gadsden couple's killer still on death row by Lisa Rogers
The Gadsden Times

Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marketplace