RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond man was sentenced to spend 14 years behind bars after being found guilty of four seemingly random assaults on women during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Marvin Maurice Moore faced malicious wounding and assault and battery charges out of the City of Richmond, stemming from four separate incidents that all happened within just over a month of each other, including two assaults on the same day. Moore was initially charged with a third assault on that same day, Aug. 31, 2020, out of Henrico County. But he was ultimately acquitted.
Prosecutors in the City of Richmond had key pieces of evidence that were lacking in the nearby county, though — surveillance video.
“I was not present for the Henrico trial, but my understanding is that they did not have surveillance video of that incident taking place,” Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nathan Hittle told 8News. “It was only one incident, as opposed to this case, where you had all four being tried together, which, I think, made it a more challenging case to try.”
Moore’s 14-year sentence was several years above the recommended range presented to the judge in sentencing guidelines for this case.
“We were asking for more time because of the nature of the offenses, because of the impact it had on the victims, and because we wanted to ensure that the Richmond community was protected from this person in the future,” Hittle said. “The judge noted during sentencing that he had testified falsely at trial, and that was also another consideration during the sentencing hearing. He had an outburst when one of the victims was testifying, and he actually was not present for the remainder of the sentencing hearing after that moment.”
One of those victims was Branwyn McCormick, then just 16 years old.
“Justice was served,” she told 8News of the sentencing. “I’m just glad that he is now behind bars and others can find hope from my situation.”
McCormick was violently attacked by Moore on July 17, 2020, at the Taco Bell on Azalea Avenue in the northside area.
Four days later, on July 21, Moore struck again. Surveillance video obtained by 8News showed him randomly getting up from his seat on a GRTC Pulse Bus and hitting a woman sitting behind him. When she looked up to see what had happened, Moore pretended to have slipped. He then elbowed the woman in the head and neck area.
On Aug. 31, 2020, Moore similarly attacked on a GRTC Pulse Bus, appearing to rise from his seat randomly, assaulting a woman sitting behind him, and then pretending to fall when she looked up.
“GRTC has safety measures in place to help protect our operators and passengers. Some of them include sharing information with our operators of citizens who are banned from using our service, installing more safety partitions around operators, and playing public announcements on board about criminal penalties,” GRTC Communications & Marketing Director Mike Frontiero said in a statement to 8News. “More protections are in development and we are advocating for legislation that offers further protection to our operators.”
That same day, he punched an elderly woman walking with a cane across East Broad Street in the face with such force that she was knocked to the ground.
“You had four separate victims who were all women, who were all vulnerable and unsuspecting and had no connection to the defendant in any way,” Hittle said. “There was surveillance video of all four incidents, and that video shows, in every case, that prior to the assault taking place, there was no contact or words or anything between the defendant and any of the victims.”
That finding begs the question, why?
“There was nothing that we knew or were made aware of as to why he targeted these people in particular, or targeted women in particular, or people who were vulnerable,” Hittle said. “But it certainly seemed odd, given the repeated nature of the assaults, that those were the similar criteria.”
The results of Moore’s mental health evaluation are sealed. But Hittle noted that a judge found the defendant was fit to stand trial. He also added that the work of Richmond Police detectives was crucial in this case.
“We could not have gotten this result without the cooperation of the Taco Bell and without the cooperation of the victims,” he said. “You had to come to court and testify, knowing the perpetrator was there in court with them. The last thing I would note is that, in addition to the four victims in Richmond, there was a fifth victim in Henrico who had a previous trial that resulted in a not guilty finding. But she came and participated in the sentencing hearing here, as well, and I’m glad to know that, through the Richmond case, she was also able to get some justice.”