Niagara Gazette

January 31, 2014

North Carolina man weighing plea deal in murder case

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT -- A North Carolina man, charged in the murder of a Falls woman, will get to keep his defense lawyer.

Richard Moore will also weigh a plea deal from prosecutors.

Moore, 50, of Winston-Salem and Cammesoa Marie Williams, 42, have both been charged and accused of roles in the murder of Tijuana Davis.

Williams has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Moore has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Williams' lawyer has said he too is trying to make a deal for his client.

Moore is being represented by the Niagara County Public Defender's Office. On Monday, Assistant Public Defender Michael Benedict told Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III that his office might not be able to represent Moore because of a conflict of interest. On Friday, Pubic Defender A. Joseph Catalano said there was no conflict and his office would continue to represent Moore.

First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann told Murphy that prosecutors have offered a deal to Moore. Catalano told reporters the deal would require his client to plead guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter.

Williams' defense attorney has told Murphy that he and prosecutors have had some discussion of a plea deal in her case.

"We have had a number of conversations to work toward a pre-trial disposition," defense attorney Herbert Greenman said. "But we're not there yet."

Hoffmann has said prosecutors are looking to consult with the Davis family before moving forward on the plea deals.

Williams is free on $5,000 bail. Moore remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail.

The couple was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 28 after Falls police responded to a call of a shooting in the 1800 block of North Avenue. Officers found Moore and Williams at the shooting scene and then took both into custody without incident.

They also found Davis, 39, suffering from what appeared to be two gunshot wounds. Witnesses said a "stupid argument that just happened and escalated" had led to the shooting.

Moore and Williams were reportedly in the Cataract City for a weekend wedding involving Williams' cousin. Greenman said his client and the victim had been "close friends."

Falls Police detectives said the couple and Davis had returned the victim's apartment, at 1828 North Ave., after the wedding reception and had been "drinking and playing cards" there. Investigators said Williams, Davis and another woman then began to argue and fight.

"(Moore) said he retrieved a gun and fired a warning shot (in an attempt to stop the fight) that went into the wall," Falls Police Detective Lt. Mike Trane said at the time. "But the fight continued and then he ended up shooting (Davis)."

Davis suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach. Detectives said Moore and Williams then fled from the apartment, but returned a short time later as they were arriving on the scene.

Investigators originally said that Williams then shot Davis in the buttocks. However, prosecutors have since said Williams did not shoot the victim.

Instead, they said it was Williams who put a bullet into Davis' apartment wall.

"(Williams) did not shoot (Davis)," Hoffmann said. "The investigation shows that (Davis) was only shot once. There was one (bullet) entrance wound and one (bullet) exit wound. (Williams) fired the gun into the wall."

Detectives said they were able to speak to Davis before she was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. She was rushed into surgery there, but died several hours later.



Contact reporter Rick Pfeiffer at 282-2311, ext. 2252.