Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: Michael Moore

Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Executed on 9 January 2002

Michael Patrick Moore, 38, was executed by lethal injection on 9 January in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a homeowner during a burglary.

In February 1994, Moore, then 30, drove up to the Copperas Cove home of Christa E. Bentley, 35, sometime after 2:00 a.m. He was dressed in black and he approached the home carrying a crowbar. He found the back door unlocked, so he laid the crowbar down on the porch and entered. He removed his black shirt, laid it on a chair in the dining room, and headed toward the bedrooms. When he heard the sound of a female voice calling out a name, he mumbled something back and went into the bathroom. Christa Bentley got out of bed, went into the bathroom, saw Moore, and started screaming. According to Moore, he tried to push Bentley away, but she grabbed him and kept screaming. Moore stabbed Bentley several times in the chest, then shot her. He then ran out of the house and drove off. Bentley's 14-year-old son, Roger, awoke, found his injured mother, and called 911. Christa Bentley died within a few minutes from multiple stab wounds.

A police officer in a patrol car spotted Moore driving at night with his headlights off and speeding, so he followed him and turned his police lights on. Moore led the police on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles down a two-lane country road. Eventually, he slowed down and jumped out of the car and attempted to flee on foot, then the police caught him. While he was in police custody, Moore was connected to the murder of Christa Bentley, and he confessed.

In his confession, Moore told police that he had been out drinking and playing pool that night, and after last call, he decided to "look into getting some income." He explained that he was broke and behind in rent, and had written numerous bad checks. He chose the Bentley home because he had seen Christa Bentley's daughter, "T.R.", standing outside in front of the house one day. Bentley told the police he had previously seen T.R. Bentley in a Copperas Cove High School yearbook, looked up her address, and knew she lived at that house. He also said that he had stolen the knife and gun used in the crime from two different residences in Copperas Cove. (Moore assumed that T.R. Bentley was at home the night of the crime, but she was at a friend's house.)

A jury convicted Moore of capital murder in October 1994. At his punishment hearing, the state introduced a notebook written by Moore entitled "The Girls of Copperas Cove." In this notebook, Moore had listed the names and addresses of 300 teenage girls. Many of these girls, including T.R. Bentley, testified that Moore had stalked, harassed, and threatened them. Moore also wrote letters to several of the girls, in which he threatened to rape them.

Moore had no prior criminal convictions, but the state introduced evidence that Moore twice set fire to his house as a child, that he had threatened to kill his parents, and tried to stab his younger brother with a pair of scissors. During his nine-year service in the Navy, Moore was AWOL three times and was convicted of larceny. Also, the state introduced evidence of several burglaries of homes listed in Moore's notebook, which often took place when the victims were home.

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