Woman faces 10 years after shooting boyfriend

A Craig woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for wounding her former boyfriend with a shot from a .357-caliber handgun.

Sandra Moore, 50, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and prohibited use of a weapon after she fired at her former boyfriend, Ron Wyatt, on March 20, 2003. The bullet went in Wyatt's shoulder, exited his arm, re-entered his torso and finally exited his back, according to court documents.

Wyatt, who lives in Florida, declined to submit a victim's statement to the court because he didn't want to be responsible for Moore's sentence, Moore's attorney said.

Moore spent nearly a year in the Moffat County jail while her case moved through the judicial system. A month ago, Moore pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

On Monday, Moore appeared before 14th Judicial District Judge Paul R. McLimans to be sentenced.

A therapist testified on Moore's behalf that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of years of domestic violence and physical abuse.

The trailer where Moore shot Wyatt was close to a residence where Moore had lived with a previously abusive boyfriend and she was envisioning that former boyfriend when she shot Wyatt, the therapist said.

Moore's son, Brian, testified to incidents of domestic violence between Moore and a previous boyfriend. Brian Moore also said Wyatt was verbally abusive toward his mother.

"It's important that the court understands the context in which this incident happened," Moore's lawyer, Sheryl Uhlmann, said. Uhlmann is the 14th Judicial District public defender.

Moore was affected by alcohol and PTSD the night of the incident, Uhlmann said. Each of those factors was "not an excuse, but it's part of what happened," Uhlmann said.

Uhlmann read evidence of Moore's remorse, including a police report in which Moore said she wished she could switch places with Wyatt so he would not be hurting. Those statements were made shortly after the incident, while Wyatt was in the hospital, Uhlmann said.

The prosecutor, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite, agreed that Moore had been a victim of domestic violence in the past. Waite's office had prosecuted cases in which Moore was the victim, although never a case in which Wyatt was the defendant.

Waite said the court might conclude that Moore was a victim in the past, "but she was not a victim here," Waite said.

"The court can see from the evidence that Ms. Moore has been aggressive and violent on more than one occasion," Waite said.

When Moore addressed the court, she was emotional, remorseful and she asked for mercy.

She also advised women not to "sit back and let men abuse them and have all this built-up emotion and then something like this happens."

Waite asked for a sentence of 12 years in prison. Uhlmann asked the court not to impose more than eight.

McLimans said he didn't doubt Moore's history of abuse, some of which was documented. But the judge said he found the case troubling because it involved multiple shots from a firearm. One errant shot destroyed a TV.

And there was no real effort on Moore's behalf to assist the victim immediately after the shooting, McLimans said.

He called the crime, "one of the most severe episodes this court has had the chance to review."

McLimans ordered a sentence that was twice the minimum he could impose, but still six years less than the maximum of 16 years in prison.

McLimans gave Moore 359 days of credit for the time she served in the Moffat County Jail. He also ordered $14,000 in restitution.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

Commenting has been disabled for this item.