CANTON — A jury in a Van Zandt County courtroom Friday convicted Michael Vincent Moore of capital murder in connection with the 2012 death of his niece, 16-year-old Alicia Chanta Moore of Greenville.
The verdict brought to a close a case which drew statewide and even national attention.
Michael Moore, 59, had pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder.
The jury in the 294th District Court received the case at around noon Friday and returned with the guilty verdict about three hours later. Testimony in the trial began Tuesday.
Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty as a punishment in the case. Therefore, Michael Moore was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Jessica Byrd, the aunt of Alicia Moore who has been the spokesperson for the family, said a statement concerning the outcome of the case could be issued today.
“We’re just still calling family members to let them know,” Byrd said Friday evening.
Alicia Moore was last seen getting off of a school bus at the intersection of Walnut and Bourland Streets in Greenville on Nov. 2, 2012.
Alicia was wearing a white shirt with a black undershirt, a green jacket, pink headband and black glasses. Alicia was carrying a black backpack. Alicia was also wearing earrings and a necklace. Alicia was five-foot-one and weighed 97 pounds, with medium length black hair, black eyes, and braces.
Her body was found four days later in Van Zandt County.
Alicia Moore’s death sparked an outcry from the community as to why her disappearance did not meet the criteria for an “Amber Alert” and resulted in a march from Graham Park to the intersection, as well as other public events to raise awareness of the incident.
The investigation into Alicia Moore’s death involved a cooperative effort between the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenville Police Department and the Texas Rangers.
A reward of up to $25,000 had been offered through various sources for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Alicia Moore’s death.
But detectives in the case revealed Michael Moore’s arrest was the result of “self-initiated investigations” and not due to anyone from the public offering information.
Investigators took DNA samples from Moore’s family members, which along with additional evidence reportedly implicated Michael Moore in the murder. He was arrested at his Grand Prairie apartment on May 6, 2013.