LR killing self-defense, man’s lawyer says

County district misses unitary mark, intervenors' attorneys say

With his brother, a key witness against him, and evidence that someone shot him, a Memphis man accused of killing a man in a West Little Rock restaurant will show the jury that he is himself when he fired his gun, his attorney told a Pulaski County Circuit judge Tuesday.

Darean Deshun Moore, 21, is charged with first degree murder after killing Kentarius Montrell “Peanut” Scott, 25, of North Little Rock in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks Restaurant at 10 Shackleford Drive on August 29th.

Moore was an instant suspect because his brother told police he saw Moore pull a gun from his waistband and shoot Scott after an argument, Detective Aaron Oncken testified Tuesday. Moore was gone, but his brother was still at the restaurant when the police arrived, called from an off duty officer who was security at the restaurant.

Moore was arrested about three hours after the murder. He was found about 23 miles away by police who followed him to the Pilot Travel Center, 3300 Arkansas 391 in North Little Rock. He’s been locked up ever since.

Circuit judge Leon Johnson lowered Moore’s bail from $ 2 million to $ 250,000 at a hearing on Tuesday. He noted that Moore doesn’t have a significant criminal history and appears to have strong family support to ensure he appears in court. Deputy Attorney Jennings Morgan declined to reduce bail, describing Moore as “a fairly serious aviation risk”.

Moore didn’t testify, but attorney Colleen Barnhill told the judge that Moore defended himself while ridiculed and outnumbered by Scott’s friends. Moore tried to move away from the confrontation, she said.

The detective testified at the hearing that the Moore brothers and Scott were at the restaurant to gather members of an unnamed Philander Smith College fraternity when Scott stepped on Darean Moore’s feet and angered him. It was at least the second time someone had stepped on Moore’s feet, the detective said, and Moore wanted Scott to fight for the perceived ease despite repeated apologies, which included wiping Moore’s shoes.

Followed by some or all of the members of the Brotherhood, the men went outside, but Darean Moore changed his mind and decided to leave, the detective said. Some members of the group mocked Moore, including Scott, who, according to Detective, still wanted to fight. Scott was shot in the face and chest in the ensuing confrontation between the men, Oncken testified.

An Uber driver who heard about the shooting contacted the police to report that around the same time he picked up a shocked-looking passenger named Darean from the Ramada Inn next to Twin Peaks and brought them to North Little Rock. The driver said the man asked him to take him to Forrest City in the middle of the trip, but canceled the request and got out of the car when the driver stopped in North Little Rock for gasoline. Moore’s paternal grandmother lives in Forrest City.

The officers who arrested Moore said he told them his name was Chris Jones, but the driver identified him, the detective told the judge.

When off duty officer Nicholas Smith heard the gunshots, he had come out of the restaurant just in time to see a stocky man in a pink jacket run away.

Police said they found the jacket and a 38-caliber five-chamber revolver that contained three bullets and two cartridges in a large dumpster behind a neighboring store. The security video shows the man in the pink jacket who is standing behind the container and then appears without the jacket.

The detective testified that the gun belonged to Moore’s friend in Memphis. She told police that Moore was with her when she bought it and knew she kept it in her car glove box, even though the gun was missing at the time of the murder.

Witnesses said they heard between five and 10 to 15 gunshots and saw occupants of a silver vehicle shoot at Moore after Scott was shot, the detective said.

Investigators found eight 0.40 caliber cases in the parking lot and interviewed two other members of the Brotherhood who were in the restaurant that evening. Moore was admitted to shooting, but only after he was confronted with contradictions in his account of events, the detective said.