The murder trial of a Bangor man accused of stabbing an acquaintance to death more than a year ago in the parking lot of a Harlow Street nightclub began Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor with the defense accusing another man of the crime.
Before the trial began, Moore rejected an offer that he plead guilty to murder in exchange for a sentence of 38 years, lawyers told Superior Court Justice William Anderson, who is presiding.
His jury trial is the first convened in Maine for murder since last fall when Carine Reeves, 40, of New York was convicted in the slaying of Sally Shaw, 55, of New Gloucester in July 2017 in Cherryfield.
Witnesses at Moore’s trial Monday testified about finding Snow lying in the parking lot of the Half Acre. Kerianne Peabay testified that she thought he was drunk and passed out until she went to check on him.
“When he saw me, he said, ‘I’m dying. I’m dying. I’ve just been stabbed,’” she told the jury. “He had blood all over his neck and shoulder and his shirt was soaked in blood.”
She called 911.
Peabay also testified that as she entered the lot, she saw two men and a woman leaving on foot.
Bangor police Officer Michael Pina was nearby and arrived on the scene quickly. Pina told the jury that he saw Snow surrounded by several people who were holding articles of clothing against his chest in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
Pina, who now works for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s office, testified that he also found Moore’s wallet in the parking lot.
Snow was stabbed multiple times but died as a result of a wound to his heart, the autopsy showed.
Moore and Snow had been partying on the evening of Jan. 31, 2020, at a Bangor apartment, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue told jurors. Moore felt that Snow had been disrespectful to residents when asked to leave. The two men and others then gathered in the parking lot of the Half Acre at 190 Harlow St. where Snow and at least one other man struck Moore.
“The defendant was upset to be on the losing end of a fight,” Bogue told jurors. “Rayshaun Moore wanted his revenge.”
Both men separately returned to the parking lot where Moore stabbed Snow in the heart, lung, abdomen and arm, the prosecutor said. Moore allegedly ran from the parking lot and tossed the knife into the Kenduskeag Stream, where police recovered it, and put his clothes in bleach in an attempt to destroy evidence.
Defense attorney Hunter Tzovarras told jurors that another man, not Moore, killed Snow. After the fight, he said, Moore was upset but was not seeking revenge and took his knife with him for self-defense.
The Bangor Daily News is not naming the other man because he has not been charged with a crime.
Moore went back to the parking lot because he’d lost his wallet in the fight, Tzovarras said. Snow, Moore and the other man began fighting in an area of the parking lot that was not captured on surveillance cameras when the man grabbed Moore’s knife and stabbed Snow.
The other man called police and “started blaming Rayshaun Moore for what he’d done that night,” the defense attorney told the jury. Tzovarras also said that police did not check the murder weapon for the other man’s DNA.
Snow was killed less than 10 hours after Moore was released from the Penobscot County Jail on personal recognizance bail on misdemeanor assault charges and warrants for unpaid fines. The assault charges stemmed from an alleged fight on Jan. 29, 2020, with a couple who lived on Harlow Street, according to Bangor police. Snow was not among the victims or witnesses listed in that case.
Moore allegedly was intoxicated when he arrived at the apartment and got into an argument with the man and woman who lived there about “slavery and black imprisonment by white men.” That led to a physical fight, witnesses told police.
A short time later, Bangor officers spoke with Moore outside his Spring Street apartment, arrested him and took him to jail. He pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance at 1 p.m. Jan. 31, 2020, and was released from the jail at 4:20 p.m.
Bangor police and fire responded to a report of an injured man at Half Acre Nightclub’s parking lot at 190 Harlow St. around 1:15 a.m. Feb. 1, 2020, about nine hours later.
Snow was one of 12 children. His mother and seven of his siblings were present for opening arguments.
The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning with testimony from Bangor police officers and detectives. A verdict is expected early next week, the judge said Monday.
If convicted, Moore faces between 25 years and life in prison.