Moore trial update: Defendant's father testifies
Breaking for somber moments, co-owner of Moore Brothers Farm and the father of defendant Paul Moore, Roger Moore, recalled his experience the day his employee of 19 years, Roberto Ayala, was killed in a bombing on the company's rice field.
Paul Moore is being tried for the July 16, 2011, murder of Ayala in a Colusa County Superior Court case being held in Sacramento. Prosecutors Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner and Special Assistant Attorney General David Druliner are one week into their argument.
Roger Moore said he was having lunch with his son, Paul Moore, in Grimes when he received a phone call from Ayala's brother Eduardo that something terrible had happened. He dropped his son off at his Grimes home and headed to the field.
"The state of mind I was in, I didn't say anything. I don't think anything was said," he said.
"When I saw the extent of what happened, I just went back to my pickup and sat down," Roger Moore said.
While in his truck, he told Lt. Shane Maxey, "don't leave any stone unturned," he said.
He then testified there were three reasons he thought it might not be an accident.
He was "very confident in Robert's abilities regarding electrical boxes," he was "confident that the electrical panel was up to code and in excellent condition," and third, because his "employee had been threatened."
Roger Moore said is was difficult to give testimony and at one point the bailiff offered the witness a handkerchief.
When defense attorney Linda Parisi asked Roger Moore if he was upset because Ayala was an employee or because of their personal relationship, he responded, "I couldn't distinguish between the two, they're both equal."
Throughout Roger Moore's recollection of the events, Ayala's family members in the courtroom became emotional, wiping away tears. At one point, members of the jury dabbed their eyes.
Through examination by Druliner and cross by Parisi, Roger Moore testified he had heard that Peter Moore, Paul's cousin, had sent a text message reading something like, "When Robert's shoulder gets better, he's mine."
Roger Moore said it may be possible he learned about the text message from Paul Moore.
He said he went to the Colusa County Sheriff's office about a week after hearing of the incident, but he and Roberto Ayala decided not to place a restraining order on Peter Moore.
That incident was about six weeks before the bombing incident, Moore said.
Later in court, David Moore, Peter Moore's second cousin, testified that Paul Moore said if he were to take over the Moore Brothers farm he would, "fire those Mexicans," referring to the Ayala brothers.
On Wednesday, the prosecution questioned multiple witnesses who testified about forensic evidence, including fingerprints, linking Paul Moore to a series of items in the case. Of particular interest were two letters, including a diagram of a bomb, received by the sheriff's office that stated to be written by a gang hit man responsible for the murder.