The Murder of Stephen Moore
It often amazes me when I stumble upon cases that there seems to be a multitude of people involved in the crime, especially when they are all related. I have always disagreed with the rule that a spouse does not have to testify against another spouse and yet a parent does not get that same privileged when one of their children have been accused of a crime. So many gave Cindy Anthony a hard time when she testified in her daughters trial believing that she lied. I too believe that she did and while I do think she went further in her lies than she should have, I also believe she should have never been given the burden of testifying against her daughter. So when it comes to parents I get it, we're here to help, not harm our children but a line has to be drawn somewhere. As a mother I love my children and while I would not want to be put in the position of testifying against them, I also would not go as far as to help them commit a crime in any way. Such is not the case for all parents and it seems to always come back and bite them in the ass.
Stephen Moore had married Kathleen Dorsett in June of 2007. They had a daughter together but by June of 2010 their divorce was final. Kathleen had been granted custody of their now 20 month old daughter but Stephen wanted more visitation and Kathleen wanted to move with her parents from New Jersey to Florida. They were in and out of court it seemed and although Kathleen's father, Thomas, had offered to help Stephen move to Florida with them and help set him up things were no in any way rosy between Stephen and the Dorsett family.
On the morning of August 16, 2010 Stephen dropped his daughter, Elizabeth, off at his ex-wife's home in Long Branch New Jersey. He did not show up at the local Honda dealership he worked at and his co-workers became concerned when they could not reach him. My research indicated that it was his co-workers that reported him missing. Two days later, in the early morning of August 18th firefighters responded to a report of a car fire. The car belonged to Evlyn Moore, Stephen's mother. In the trunk of the car was the body of forty-two year old Stephen Moore.
It did not take authorities long to figure things out. Within a week they had their culprits arrested. First there was Kathleen, who to everyone's surprise was an elementary school teacher. Then there was her father, Thomas, who was also arrested. Thirdly there was a man named Anthony Morris arrested. And, later even Kathleen's mother, Lesley was arrested, although it was not for Stephen's murder. It seems everyone involved pleaded guilty to reduced charges which was great for the tax payers, but maybe not so great for people like you and I who like to hear the story, or at least more of the theory that the prosecution comes up with. By having guilty pleas only a bit of the evidence is reveals and in many cases the “facts” become almost solely based on the words of the defendant and those are not always true as we know.
By piecing things together it is believed that after Stephen had dropped Elizabeth off to Kathleen she in some way lured him to her backyard where her dad, Thomas came out of a hiding place and struck him on the head with a heavy object. Thomas then allegedly took a rope and strangled Stephen. It is unclear if authorities believe that when Thomas placed Stephen in the trunk of his mother's car if he was already dead or would die inside. Thomas then paid Anthony Morris $3,000 to torch the car, which was found two days later. Authorities have been unable to determine, and apparently no one ever elaborated, where the car was for those two days. They were able to determine that Morris knew there was a body inside the vehicle when he set it on fire.
Morris was charged with arson for hire, tampering with evidence, desecrating human remains, hindering apprehension and conspiracy to commit arson. I looked at the Department of Corrections website in New Jersey and I did see one Anthony Morris but there was nothing listed from these charges and only some that took place later involving drugs. The New Jersey DOC shows prior prison terms and charges so I cannot say if this Anthony Morris is the same and he somehow avoided these charges, maybe through cooperation or a deal that left just drug charges or what the situation is. This particular Anthony Morris will remain an inmate until at least 2022. My research indicated that in April of 2011 he had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to disturb or desecrate human remains but I found nothing on a sentence.
Kathleen was arrested on August 23rd and just after her father, Thomas, attempted suicide, apparently knowing authorities would be headed his way. He survived his attempt and was arrested. He pleaded guilty to his charges that initially included murder, tampering with evidence, tampering with a witness, arson for hire and conspiracy to commit arson. He received thirty years for the murder charge and fifteen years for the conspiracy to commit murder. He is not eligible for parole until 2040 when he will be ninety-three years old.
Kathleen would also plead guilty at the same time as both of her parents in May of 2013. She received thirty years for murder, twenty years for attempted murder and eight years for conspiracy to commit murder. She will be eligible for parole in August of 2057 when she is eighty-three years old.
The conspiracy to commit murder charge came about when after Kathleen was arrested Stephen's mother, Evlyn, received custody of her daughter, Elizabeth. Evlyn was also apparently prepared to testify against Kathleen if the case went to court. Authorities were able to record a phone conversation between Kathleen and her mother, Lesley, in which they discussed the murder of Evlyn to prevent her from testifying and having custody. Lesley went as far as to give $1,000 to a police informant to have the murder committed. Lesley too was caught. Lesley would plead guilty and receive a sentence of seven years for conspiracy to commit murder. She was released in December of 2016. My research indicates that all three Dorsetts were also charged with money laundering in November of 2010 for attempting to hide close to $100,000. I can only assume these charges were dropped with their plead deals.
At their sentencing it appears that the judge placed all the blame on Kathleen. He called her a manipulative narcissist who had convinced her parents to help her murder her ex-husband. I can only assume this is thinking is why Lesley's sentence was lenient. I cannot say if Kathleen was an only child but I never saw a reference to any siblings which leads me to believe that she was a spoiled rotten child who had been given anything and everything she wanted and this continued as an adult. In the end, as a letter written by Evlyn that was read in court stated, the acts of the Dorsett's resulted in Elizabeth losing both of her parents forever.