Saturday, January 2, 2010

Habitual felon sentenced to 72 years for shooting death of "girlfriend"

A habitual felon was sentenced to up to 72 years in prison on New Year's Eve by Larimer County, CO Judge David Williams for the shooting death of his girlfriend, 25 year old Valerie Gendernalik, a Colorado State University graduate. 30 year old Justin Levi Moore, convicted of 2nd degree murder, would have only faced 16 to 48 years in prison if he had no previous criminal record.

Evidence presented at trial showed the couple had been out drinking with friends in Old Town hours before Gendernalik was shot in the head at close range.

Jurors heard testimony about the couple’s strained relationship in the weeks leading up to the shooting, Gendernalik’s phone call to her ex-boyfriend the night she died and of allegations of domestic violence from two of Moore’s ex-girlfriends.

Moore claimed he and Gendernalik were toying with the weapon when it went off. Jurors needed just 3½ hours to return their guilty verdict.

Larisa Gendernalik, the victim's mother, said that "We all know the story of (Fyodor) Dostoevsky where he was punished by himself. I watched Justin throughout the case and throughout the 18 months here in this courtroom. I truly believe he did not feel any punishment in his own mind.”

The victim's father, Larry said that he did not believe that his daughter was gone until he saw the evidence in court. "It wasn’t until I saw everything in the trial that I realized he did go out and acquire a gun and within weeks he put that gun to my daughter’s head and fired. And I guess really that was when I finally knew that Valerie was gone.”

Despite the conviction and sentencing, Moore maintained his innocence.

  I am a human being and I am imperfect. I am a sinner. I am guilty of sins in my past, and I am guilty of crimes in my past and mistakes I made as a young man. I pleaded guilty to the crimes that I was guilty of. This is the first trial that I've been to in my extensive, as (prosecutors) put it, criminal history ... this is the first time I have disputed any act because I am honestly not guilty.

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