PAGE UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING NOVEMBER 24, 2015 3:30 P.M.
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Jury finds Moore guilty of murder
She’s facing 45 to 105 years
After a six-day trial, the jury took less than two hours on Friday, Nov. 20, to find Allison Moore guilty of the murder of Nancy Hershman of Milan. Moore, 25, was found guilty of all four charges: intentional murder, felony murder, burglary of a dwelling and conspiracy to commit burglary, at the Ripley County courthouse.
MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO
Allison Moore is escorted Thursday back to jail by Jail deputy Winston Halcomb and Jail Commander Bob Curl. Her sentencing will be Dec. 11.
When the verdict was read by Judge Jeff Sharp, special judge for the circuit court, Moore’s mother, Pamela Mitchell, who was sitting in the galley, cried. The Hershman family and friends, most who had been there throughout the lengthy trial, held back emotions; however, it was obvious they were pleased with the verdict, and hugged each other after the judge excused the jury before the second phase of the trial began.
The jury then had to decide on the first count, intentional murder, on whether to give Moore life without parole or a fixed year of prison terms. The State had to prove the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating circumstances. The aggravator in this case, Prosecutor Ric Hertel told the jury, was burglary. He also asked the jury to consider the previous testimony and evidence in making their decision.
After brief opening statements were made by both attorneys, Moore’s defense attorney Michael Sarapata told the jury he believed mitigating factors, such as her age, and “significantly, that she had no criminal history” could outweigh the aggravating factors. He then called a witness, Tina Skirvan with Trace Investigations in Bloomington, to the stand. She had conducted several interviews with Allison, her mother, sister, church members and friends regarding her character, mental state, and background. She testified that Allison Moore had been abused at age 4 at a daycare and sexually molested at age 10. She also struggled with mental health issues. The State asked the jury to consider the previous evidence and testimony to reach a verdict. The jury once again recessed and deliberated whether to give Moore life without parole for intentional murder. After an hour, around 6:30 p.m., they returned and recommended a sentence for a fixed set of years. Moore is facing 45 to 105 years imprisonment, and sentencing will be Dec. 11 by the judge. The 23 witnesses and 100 exhibits presented by the State helped lead to the guilty conviction
Hertel said in a statement after the conviction, “I believe the volume of evidence was important to the jury and their deliberations. There was no one damning piece of evidence, but the combination of everything was telling,” Hertel said a plea agreement was not on the table, as the Hershman family did not think it appropriate. The trial came nearly three years after the murder, which occurred Dec. 30, 2012, and after several delays.
Man gets 35 years for producing child porn
A Batesville man has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to producing child pornography. Todd Chambers, 28, pleaded guilty to nine counts of producing child pornography. He possessed thousands of images of child exploitation on his digital camera, laptop, cell phone and other electronic devices, according to the news release from the US Attorney General’s, Southern District news release. He was sentenced Friday in federal court in Indianapolis.
Prosecutors say Chambers told investigators he produced and distributed through the Internet a series of images of child exploitation. The images were done over a three month period in 2014. He was arrested Oct. 24, 2014 at the Dairy Queen in Batesville, and charges were filed March 17, 2015. The FBI and state police investigated with assistance from the Batesville Police Department as part of Project Safe Childhood. He met law enforcement at a local restaurant on Oct. 24, 2014, and was arrested and placed in custody.