Stanley Moghalu, one of two men on trial for the shooting death 36-year-old Steven Curtis Moore, told jurors Monday that he was nowhere near Moore at the time of his death, and that he was with his fiance during the time of the shooting.
“I was with [Alycia Worsley],” Moghalu said. “That night we drove past a road block and I didn’t think nothing of it. A friend told me the next day Moore was shot.”
Moghalu and co-defendants Jekwan Smith, Johnnie Harris and Anthony Hatton are alleged members of a crew called “21st and Vietnam,” and are on trial for the murders of Moore, Isaiah Sheffield and Tyrell Fogle.
Moghalu is charged with first-degree murder while armed in connection with Moore’s death. Prosecutors say Moghalu was a drug dealer who, along with Harris and Kevin Charles, ambushed Moore, shooting him several times because they believed he was a “snitch.”
But Moghalu testified Monday that he “didn’t even know” Moore.
“I knew of him, but we never conversed,” Moghalu said. “We never had an argument; we never had any kind of physical altercation. Never.”
On December 3, 2011, police found Moore at around 6:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of 21st Street Northeast suffering from gunshot wounds. Moore was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
Moghalu told jurors Monday that on the day of Moore’s death he went to the mall with his then-girlfriend, Alycia Worsley. Moghalu testified that while at the mall he proposed to Worsley, giving her a ring, and then they lost track of time. Moghalu said later that evening they left the mall to pick up their two kids from day care. Moghalu told jurors that on the way home he saw some streets blocked off but didn’t know what happened. The next day, Moghalu said, a friend told him Moore had been shot and killed.
Earlier at trial, Worsley had a similar account for jurors. Asked if she remembered the day, she said yes.
“That day in particular is when I received my engagement ring,” she told jurors, waving her left hand to them.
On the stand, Moghalu also distanced himself from the other co-defendants in the case saying that he never met Hatton “until this trial.” And Moghalu said that Harris was someone he would “go to the courts with” to play basketball.
But prosecutors said they found a video of Harris boxing on Moghalu’s iPhone, and they also played a 2011 phone conversation between Moghalu and Worsley that mentions Hatton.
Last week, Ferris Bond, Moghalu’s defense attorney, argued in court that Moghalu never sold drugs. But prosecutors introduced transcript testimony from a 2007 homicide trial where Moghalu was implicated as a drug dealer.
Moghalu told jurors Monday that he did sell marijuana, but “not on 21st Street,” he said.
The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday in Judge Henry Greene’s courtroom.
Megan Arellano contributed to this report