Prosecutors provided no clues as to the motive behind Wednesday’s killing of an elderly, wheelchair-bound man allegedly at the hands of his neighbor.
Randy Moore, 54, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges during his arraignment Thursday in Brighton District Court. Moore entered the courtroom in hand and ankle cuffs and was dressed in a white jumpsuit. He didn’t speak.
Moore allegedly shot 78-year-old William Thomas with a shotgun just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Court documents showed that Moore told police he was under the influence of Klonopin, a drug used alone or in combination with other medications to control seizures and relieve panic attacks. It is also used to treat restlessness that may occur as a side effect of treatment with antipsychotic medications, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Moore’s lawyer, Matthew Kamholtz, said Moore has a history of mental illness and has been previously treated. Kamholtz added that he believed Moore is competent after conversations with him.
Thomas lived below Moore in their Brighton apartment building.
Police responded shortly after someone placed an emergency call about gunshots.
“Officers found Thomas sitting in his wheelchair suffering from a large gunshot wound to his chest,” said Assistant District Attorney Mark Hallal.
Neighbors told police they heard Moore’s door open just before the shooting and when officers approached Moore’s apartment they were shot at through the door with bullets passing by one officer’s head.
With their weapons drawn officers escorted Thomas and the EMTs out of the building as Moore continued to fire at them, Hallal said.
What followed was a two-hour standoff that created chaos in the Brighton neighborhood.
Moore eventually surrendered without more shots being fired.