Man avoids death sentence on murder and kidnapping charges of Kansas deputy


By ROXANA HEGEMAN
The Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. - A man convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy last year avoided the death penalty Wednesday after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict about his sentence.

Jurors could not agree on whether Gregory Moore, 47, should be sentenced to death or life in prison. A requirement to put an inmate on death row is that all jurors must agree on the sentence.

Moore was convicted last month of capital murder, four counts of attempted capital murder, one count of aggravated kidnapping and one count of criminal possession of a firearm in a shootout that followed a domestic violence call at his home.

Earlier Wednesday, Moore told jurors he took "full responsibility" for the April 2005 death of Harvey County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Ford, 38, and asked for mercy.

"I stand before you today and humbly ask forgiveness," Moore said.

Harvey County Undersheriff Steve Bayless, one of the law enforcement officers Moore was convicted of trying to kill, said that he respected the jury's decision.

"It is out of our control," Bayless said.

The subdued Moore was in sharp contrast to the defendant who on Friday was stunned by a Taser and tackled to the floor of the courtroom after an outburst during trial testimony.

The disturbance came as a prosecutor was questioning psychiatrist William Logan about Moore's wife, Gwen Moore. She died of cancer in 1997.

Moore started shouting, "Leave my wife alone! Leave my wife alone!" Footage of the incident showed deputies restraining him on the floor.

His sentencing was set for July 21.

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