Moore gets life sentence in Colusa bombing death
Another chapter is closed for the Ayala family tragedy.
Following tearful statements read by family members of bombing victim Roberto Ayala of Grimes, Paul Moore, 49, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole on Friday in Colusa County Superior Court in Colusa.
"I have lost my partner forever because of you and your evil heart. ...You are a disgrace to the Moore family," said widow Fabiola Ayala in a statement read by court-appointed victim advocate Mary C. Godinez.
"I hope you hand this murderer, this killer, the maximum sentence," she said to Judge Jeffrey Thompson.
Moore was convicted on Aug. 23 of murdering Roberto Ayala with a bomb placed in an electrical panel in a rice field water pump on July 16, 2011, south of Colusa.
During the sentencing, Moore did not convey emotion or make a statement. "I feel like I have a dark hole in my heart since that day," Roberto's daughter, Paula Ayala, said in court.
She said her father won't be at her college graduation or have the opportunity to be the perfect grandfather.
"All because this man and his pathetic reasons, that will never be good enough, for taking my dad," she said.
Prosecutors David Druliner and John Poyner argued during the August jury trial that Paul Moore was clever and resented the fact he ranked low on the farm compared to other employees, particularly Roberto Ayala, who had a close relationship with Paul's father, Roger Moore.
Dave Salm, who was Colusa County Sheriff's Department lead investigator in the case and now works for the District Attorney's Office, read a statement written by Roberto Ayala's youngest son, Fabian, who witnessed the explosion that killed his father.
"When I saw my dad lying on the ground, I was so scared. I ran and ran," he read. "My family cried for days and days. Sometimes, I still cry. ... Mr. Paul Moore did something really, really bad. He took my dad."
"It was a tough, emotional case," Salm said after the sentencing hearing.
"To be an effective investigator, you need to remain emotionally detached. I've known the family for over two years, it's hard not to be affected," Salm said.
Big investigation for Colusa
"This case was like a 3-hour 'CSI' show ending with a perfect result," the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrote in a statement.
Dave Salm, who was Colusa County Sheriff's Department lead investigator in the case and now works for the District Attorney's Office, arrested Paul Moore on Dec. 6, 2011.
Salm said this was by far the biggest investigation he had been a part of.
A search of Paul Moore's home recovered a piece of paper with an indentation of a bomb diagram — as if it were stacked under another sheet of paper on which a diagram was drawn — a printer and a Brother brand label maker.
A month after Roberto Ayala was murdered, the Sheriff's Department received two letters labeled with a label maker as "Ayala Case" and claiming to be from a professional hitman responsible for the bombing. The second letter contained a diagram of a bomb that matches the device that killed Ayala.
Prosecutors brought in expert witnesses, including U.S. Secret Service forensics specialists, who tied Paul Moore to the letters.
Salm had never worked with the FBI, the Secret Service or the ATF. "It was an amazing case," he said.
On the day Paul Moore was convicted Salm said: "I'm sorry this happened. I am fortunate to be involved. Today feels great."
ATF investigator Brian Parker said it was an interesting investigation with a "horrible set of circumstances."
"Forensically, it was probably one of the most in-depth cases I've been involved in. Bringing in the different agencies together, the Secret Service, the FBI and ATF. We really reached out, and that doesn't include the USPS and state and local agencies. It was really a great collaboration," Parker said.
During the investigation, Paul Moore denied any involvement in the homicide and stated that the method used was a "chicken (expletive) way for someone to do it," according to his probation report.
Paul Moore denies responsibility
Probation Officer James Petelin, who spoke to Paul Moore following his conviction, said that Paul Moore continued to show no remorse for the crime before his sentencing.
In his report, Petelin said Paul Moore showed an understanding of the incredible gravity of the situation, which seemed to be "based on the consequences he believes he will certainly face, rather than for the murder of a father, son, brother and community member."
Petelin recommended life without parole and said the loss to the family is immeasurable.
"No consequence the defendant could possibly face has the power to mitigate the lack which, due to the defendant's work will be forever woven into the fabric of their lives," he wrote.
During sentencing, Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Thompson said that he would sentence Moore to life in prison even if it were not stipulated by law, because Moore has shown a pattern of crime of increasing severity.
In 1997, Moore was convicted of a felony for wiretapping in Colusa County. Months after that incident, he was arrested by the San Francisco Police Department and later convicted of assault with intent to commit rape. In 2004, he was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in Sutter County.
It was a tough case, DA says
Colusa District Attorney John Poyner said his prosecution had to leave out a lot of information in the three-week long jury trial that took place in Sacramento in August, including previous convictions.
In addition, the defense attorney was tough, he said.
"(Linda Parisi is) the best defense attorney I've ever gone up against, she's good, but I never had a doubt that my investigation team put together a rock solid case."
The defense's strategy was to divert the blame onto Paul Moore's cousin, Peter Moore, who took the stand for three days in his own defense.
"It was three days of hell," said Peter Moore, after Friday's sentencing.
"We all categorize people, for me the worst categories are murderers and rapists. To be put in that category, it's hard to put into words. It's devastating," Peter Moore said.
He said the conviction did not bring him resolve, and he now struggles with losing his childhood friend, his cousin, Paul.
"I just can't believe that this is what his life has come to. I am floored," he said.
Twenty-seven months after the bombing, Eduardo Ayala, Roberto's brother, said "a chapter is closed, that's for sure."
Eduardo Ayala said after Moore's conviction that he had waited two years to make a statement at the sentencing. After a long pause as he collected himself in the courtroom, Eduardo began to describe the day of the incident but stopped and said, "I think we all know the story."
"I just hope Paul Moore rots in prison and burns in hell, sir. I can't do this anymore."