EDWARDSVILLE – A man who failed to convince a jury that self-defense caused him to pummel a southwestern Illinois woman to death with a baseball bat was sentenced Thursday to 47 years in prison by a judge who said he was “shocked by the brutality.”
Madison County Circuit Judge James Hackett ordered an apologetic Scott Moore, 34, to serve 37 years for first-degree murder and a decade for armed robbery, with the sentences to run one after the other. Hackett denied the defense’s motion for a new trial.
“This is a terrible case, a horrible act ... for which there has to be a significant punishment,” the Belleville News-Democrat quoted Hackett as saying after the victim’s son told him he had to clean his mother’s blood off of her belongings to pack them.
“It will be with me for the rest of my life,” Paul Fowler said.
Moore apologized to the family in court Thursday, saying he fell into drug use after finding his brother dead and his mother gravely injured in an attempted murder-suicide.
Jurors convicted Moore in July, rejecting his claims that the deadly July 2009 confrontation in Catherine Fowler’s Granite City apartment came during a dispute about money he owed the 54-year-old woman for cocaine.
Moore first told authorities that he was riding his bike and stopped by Fowler’s apartment to get some water and use the bathroom, only to find her body. But investigators challenged that account, telling Moore that surveillance footage showed Fowler alive outside her apartment minutes before it showed him entering and later leaving that dwelling toting a bag with a bat sticking out of it.
Moore then said he had an altercation with the 5-foot-4, 350-pound Fowler, claiming she was in a bad mood and brought up the drug debt before she began poking him with the bat, then swinging it at his head as she backed him into a bathroom.
“She keeps coming at me,” Moore told investigators during the taped interview. “She keeps literally trying to crack my head with the bat.
“I’d never seen her like that, I mean never,” he added. “I just wanted to get out of there.”
Moore insisted that Fowler whacked him in the groin and swung at his head again after he fell to the floor. That’s when Moore said he grabbed the bat and hit Fowler on the head before Fowler reached into her purse, by Moore’s estimation reaching for a knife or gun.
“It was just all a blur,” Moore told investigators. “I don’t know how many times I hit her.”
Moore, on the videotape, first claimed he didn’t bring the baseball bat to Fowler’s apartment, then said Fowler asked him to bring it before claiming he found the bat outside the apartment and took it inside.