LISBON – Two years to the day after Destiny Moody was shot dead in her Wellsville home, relatives in the courtroom of Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam have learned that Terrance Haywood had been convicted of the murder.
Jurors took about two and a half hours to reach three guilty verdicts, finding Haywood, 28, guilty of murder, tampering with evidence and possession of weapons while he was disabled. At one point, prosecutors chose not to prosecute the aggravated burglary charge in the early morning hours of October 22, 2019.
Haywood faces a 15-year life sentence on the one count of murder. The sentencing was scheduled for November 3, when the family can make a statement if they wish.
Family members, many of whom attended the week-long trial or testified at one point, wiped away tears upon hearing the verdict and hugged each other as the jury left the room.
The testimony having ended in the middle of the morning, the jury had heard the pleadings of the two parties before their lunch break. They started deliberating around 1:25 p.m. and concluded around 4 p.m.
Micah Ault, one of two special prosecutors in the Ohio Attorney General’s office, pointed out to jurors that in the run-up to her murder Haywood strangled her with a rope, hit her in the face and had repeatedly threatened to kill her. She told friends that if she was ever to die, Haywood was responsible for it.
Also on October 20, Ault said Moody had the courage to tell her on several occasions that it was over. Less than two days later, she was dead.
Ault also reviewed the evidence linking the murder to Haywood once again for the jury – a case with his DNA found next to the body and a shoe print matching Haywood’s shoe that had kicked in the front door. .
Although the kick in the front door came after the murder, Ault explained that it was all part of the cover-up, an operation he said Citasia Tisdale helped Haywood do. Ault pointed to the many communications they were aware of and the deleted messages between them as they tried to cover up the gunshot death.
However, Ault said that many of Haywood’s girlfriends put him at Moody’s that night and that he was fighting with Moody, although you couldn’t be sure who you saw in the distant surveillance videos. . Haywood’s Facebook activity fits the timeline created perfectly. of its activities by Lieutenant Marsha Eisenhart.
Ault suggested that after the murder all five calls made from Moody’s phone to Haywood were made by Haywood himself to make it look like she was still alive at the time.
While Ault and his co-counsel Christian Stickan both gave testimony from Moody’s 6-year-old son, JaVonte remained consistent with his earlier statements to the Child Advocacy Center. “Daddy shot my mom” defense attorney Dennis McNamara disagreed.
Although McNamara admitted that JaVonte is “about the cutest 6 year old I have ever seen,” he reminded jurors that there were inconsistencies in the boys’ two statements and testimony in court. Those included “Dad stabbed mum with a chainsaw”, as well as if they went to the candy store, which his father hid in a closet, where he played Xbox and the timeline after filming.
McNamara suggested that while JaVonte wouldn’t intentionally lie, his testimony could be based entirely on what he heard other people say happened and absorbed. “like a sponge” in his own memories.
McNamara also disputed the evidence gathered by investigators, saying that investigators came up with a theory, a conclusion, and then only sought evidence that supported that conclusion. For example, McNamara said he filed an alibi notice stating that Haywood was in Newell, Va., At the time of the murder, but authorities never went there to interview people. or check all the video surveillance in that neighborhood to see it. there instead of Wellsville the night of the murder.
Additionally, McNamara pointed out that Haywood’s fingerprints were not found in the Chevy Acadia.
The neighbor who gave the tip about the voices in the alley did not show up to testify so he could be questioned.
Next, McNamara spoke about the other women in Haywood’s life who provide a timeline and, in some cases, testimony to acts of violence, but at least three of them said he would never have killed Moody. . McNamara said these women knew Haywood’s heart, character and bad mouth better than anyone, but none of them believed he was capable of murder.
Instead, two of them testified that they saw Haywood grow sad and emotional after learning of Moody’s death.
Stickan would later laugh that one of those women is obviously in love with Haywood and another has a past relationship with him.
McNamara also took issue with Tisdale’s testimony that Haywood asked her to get his gun for him and she refused, noting that if the gun had ever been thrown on a roof outside, why would he ask her that the next day.
McNamara pulled out a Nike tennis shoe that he claimed to be his own and presented it to the photo of the imprint on the door, noting that it also matched the tread pattern, just like many shoes. Nike.
McNamara also asked why Julius Holland, one of two men identified as running with Haywood on the night of the murder, was never called to testify. He asked who had used Destiny Moody’s phone after his death and why only a few of Haywood’s 6,000 pages of Facebook records were relevant. He asked why investigators ignored all the times Haywood texted Moody in a pleasant way.
“You can’t have a conviction based on suspicion, speculation, or law enforcement theory where anything consistent with that is called evidence and anything inconsistent with that is called irrelevant.” McNamara said.
As he closed the arguments, Stickan said there was so much evidence pointing to Haywood and asked jurors to find him guilty on all three counts.
“If the evidence seems to be accumulated against the defendant, it is” Stickan said. “It is and you cannot ignore it.”