A Pulaski County circuit judge on Monday cut the $2 million bail of a murder suspect down to $75,000 after the defendant's defense attorney argued that the only witness to the September 2019 killing has talked herself into believing she saw him do it.
Public defender Alan Jones, representing 35-year-old Leander Lamont Moore of Little Rock, further suggested the police investigation that led to Moore's February arrest was based more on gossip from the streets than it was on hard evidence.
However, Moore, already jailed for five months, was still behind bars Monday night. He had asked for $20,000 bail.
Moore is charged with first-degree murder in the September shooting death of 29-year-old Reginald Demarion Moore in front of the younger Moore's home at 7000 Burton Drive in the Maryton Park subdivision about a block east of Boyle Park. The men are not related.
Detective Troy Dillard, testifying at Monday's bond hearing, said Reginald Moore was fatally shot in his front yard during a late-night fight with another man who then fled.
Nothing was taken from Reginald Moore, but police suspect he'd been killed in a robbery attempt because they found an Internet video Reginald Moore made the same day he was killed that showed him driving around in his Dodge Charger displaying a large amount of cash, Dillard said.
The slaying was witnessed by a neighbor and Reginald Moore's live-in girlfriend, Cleea Shanik Jeffries, neither of whom recognized the killer, Dillard told the judge. But the victim's family heard rumors that Leander Moore was the gunman, and Jeffries found his Facebook page and told police he was the man she had seen fighting with Reginald Moore.
The detective said police heard that Leander Moore had been telling people he killed Reginald Moore but have no witnesses who can confirm that.
Asked to pick Leander Moore's picture -- his driver's license identification photo -- out of a six-photo lineup of potential suspects, Jeffries selected his picture but said she was only "more than halfway sure" that was the man she had seen, the detective said.
Jones, the defense attorney, told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims he should discount Jeffries' identification and reduce Leander Moore's $2 million bail because her tepid identification showed she had likely persuaded herself that she recognized Leander Moore as the killer because of all the gossip about him.
Authorities have little evidence the men even knew each other, Jones noted. Their only connection is a phone call two weeks prior to the slaying, he told the judge.
Deputy prosecutor Scott Duncan called Leander Moore a "flight risk" who moved to Georgia the day after Reginald Moore was killed, a move Leander Moore's lawyer called coincidental. Duncan said Leander Moore also lied to police after promising to surrender on the murder charge and about his location while investigators were looking for him.
Police also can place Leander Moore near Reginald Moore's home about the time the man was killed, using phone records, traffic cameras and video from a neighborhood security camera.
The recordings show a dark-colored or blue Chevrolet Tahoe with a distinctive burned-out tail light on Burton Drive, and Leander Moore has admitted that was him, saying he'd been in the area to buy crack cocaine and to visit a relative who lived near Reginald Moore, according to police testimony.