The man who admits gunning down the brother of accused multiple murderer Mark Moore is now a free man, after a jury acquitted him of murder Thursday.
Kenya Smith, a 33-year-old construction worker with no criminal record, maintained that he shot Andre Moore in self-defence, during a trial that coincidentally unfolded at the same time as police moved in on the dead man's brother.
In fact, Mr. Smith took the stand to recount his version of events last Wednesday, the very day Mark Moore was arrested, while the Moores' mother watched from the public gallery.
Mr. Smith told the court that he was selling marijuana and staying with his mother at a midrise apartment block on Mason Road, in the Eglinton Avenue East and Kingston Road area of Scarborough, in the spring and summer of 2008. He said Andre Moore dealt crack cocaine in the same building. One day in June or July of that year, he said Mr. Moore unsuccessfully tried to rob him in the lobby, and tried to shoot him but missed and hit the wall instead.
He said he didn't report the incident to police out of fear Mr. Moore and his brother would retaliate. He said both had a reputation for being "crazy."
Instead, Mr. Smith moved north to Sheppard Avenue to live with his sister's boyfriend. He told court that he tried to avoid his old neighbourhood, but occasionally had to return to his mother's house to look after his younger brother. He said he also bought a pistol for protection.
On Oct. 14, he happened to be in the area and parked his car in a laneway while he went to get lunch. Then, he said he noticed Mr. Moore walk by his car window. He said he thought Mr. Moore was reaching for a gun, so he opened fire through the window, turning his face away.
"I was scared for my life. I closed my eyes and shot through the glass. I didn't see where I shot him," he said.
Crown prosecutors tried to punch holes in his story, maintaining the attempted robbery never happened and questioning how he discarded the pistol after the shooting. In the end, however, it wasn't enough for the jury, which set him free.
Mark Moore is accused of carrying out a series of drive-by shootings and a jewellery store robbery that killed four men and left two others injured during a six-month period in 2010. His mother, Hyacinth Moore, was charged earlier this week with helping dispose of evidence after one of the killings. Another brother, Jerome Moore, was accused in 2009 of stealing a car from a dealership and later crashing it into a police car. He remains in prison.