CENTER, TX (KTRE) - After a 28-year-old Tenaha man pleaded guilty in connection to the beating death of his 6-month-old baby girl, a Shelby County judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison on July 8.
William Bryce Moore appeared in Judge Charles Dickerson's 123rd Judicial District Court on July and pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree felony murder. Dickerson sentenced him to 40 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison.
William Moore and his wife Angela Marie Moore were both indicted for capital murder on March 25 in connection to the Feb. 16 death of Ariana, their infant daughter.
Angela Moore pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on June 19 and accepted a five-year TDCJ prison sentence. As part of the agreement, she received credit for time served.
After William Bryce Moore was booked into the Shelby County Jail back in February, Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Marla Denby arraigned him on a capital murder charge and ruled that he shouldn't be granted a bail amount.
According to a press release, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office dispatch received a 911 call at about 3:49 a.m. on Feb. 16 about the baby being found unresponsive at a home in the Kyle Palmer Trailer Park on County Road 4356 in Tenaha.
Ariana was transported to the NMC-Center Hospital by ACE EMS, and was later pronounced dead by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Maxie Eaves, who also ordered that an autopsy be performed on the baby's body.
According to the arrest affidavit, Shelby County Sheriff's Office investigators went to William Moore's home after Ariana died and collected evidence, including a bottle nipple with blood on it and blankets.
When the investigators spoke to William Moore the first time, he said that he and his wife loaded their children in the car, so they could take the trash to the dumpster, the affidavit stated. He allegedly told the investigators that they returned to their home, Ariana, who wasn't strapped in to her car seat, fell out of the seat, rolled down the stairs, and landed on her face.
The affidavit stated that William Moore told the investigators that his wife picked Ariana up, took her inside, cleaned her up, and gave her a baby bottle. He also told them that his wife got up in the middle of the night to turn the heat off and found Ariana lying lifeless in her crib, the affidavit stated.
William Moore allegedly told the investigators that he tried performing CPR on Ariana.
Then the investigators interviewed William Moore's wife and found that although their stories were basically the same, there were inconsistencies.
According to the affidavit, the autopsy revealed that Ariana had no external injuries that seemed consistent with a fall. In addition, the baby girl's onesie didn't have any dirt on it, and the trailer park's surveillance footage showed that they never left to go to the dumpster like they said.
The SCCO investigators learned from the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy that Ariana had suffered injuries to her liver, diaphragm, colon, and spleen that were consistent with blunt force trauma, the affidavit stated.
At first, William Moore allegedly told the investigators that he had "stretched" the truth and that they never took the trash to the dumpster and repeated his original version of the story - that Ariana had fallen out of her car seat.
During the investigators' second interview with Angela Moore, when she was faced with what they had learned, she started crying and said that she didn't want to get in trouble.
According to the affidavit, Angela Moore told one of the investigators that she heard their daughter crying at about 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 15. She said after she told her husband to go and give Ariana a bottle, he was obviously "agitated" and was yelling for their daughter to quit crying, the affidavit stated.
Angela Moore told the investigators that she saw her husband strike Ariana with his fist while the baby was lying in her crib, the affidavit stated.
After the investigators confronted William Moore with the inconsistencies in the stories and the autopsy results, he allegedly admitted to hitting Ariana and demonstrated by hitting the stomach area of a baby doll with his closed fist.
The affidavit stated that William Moore told the investigators he wasn't sure how many times he hit his daughter.