The second suspect accused in the Christmas Day 2015 shooting death of 1-year-old Maleah Williams entered a guilty plea in Orange County Court on Tuesday.
Pierre Je Bron Moore pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, discharged a weapon into occupied property, possession of a firearm by a felon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, according to prosecutors.
Assistant district attorney Jeff Nieman said the plea deal will result in Moore serving between 336 and 416 months, which is a minimum of 28 years.
Moore was accused along with Ramone Jamarr Alston of shooting into a crowd outside a Chapel Hill apartment complex on Christmas Day 2015. A bullet struck Maleah Williams, and the infant died three days later.
Alston was found guilty of first-degree murder in a trial that took place in May 2018.
Nieman said at the time of Alston’s trial that this was a “tragic case of a cycle of violence that didn’t end until it took the life of the most innocent person imaginable.”
The “cycle of violence,” as Nieman called it last year, dated back to June 2014, when Nieman said that Alston’s home was broken into three times that month, with the suspects allegedly holding Alston, his girlfriend, their child and Alston’s mother at gunpoint.
On the day of the shooting, a fight broke out between two individuals – identified as Shaquille Davis and Jaylen McNair – at Trinity Court Apartments, Nieman told the jury during Alston’s trial. That ended with McNair allegedly taking money and marijuana from Davis. At that point, Davis told McNair, “I’m getting you back,” the prosecutor said.
Davis then allegedly met Alston and Moore at an apartment complex. There, according to prosecutors, a plan was hatched to go back to Trinity Court and “get” McNair. Nieman said that Alston also believed that McNair was one of the individuals who had broken into his home the previous year.
Davis was the first suspect charged in the shooting death of Williams, but those charges were dropped.
Several hours after the fight on Christmas Day 2015, a vehicle allegedly being driven by Alston drove down the small road in front of Trinity Court, where approximately 20 people – eight of whom were children – were outside. The vehicle then stopped when nearing the exit of the apartment complex, the passenger got out of the vehicle and fired shots into the crowd, according to the prosecution.
“One of those bullets tore through the head of Maleah Williams,” Nieman said.
Nieman said on Tuesday that Williams’ mother had been consulted throughout the process regarding the possibility of a plea arrangement and had agreed with the parameters.
Barring an appellate court ordering a re-trial for Alston, Nieman said the district attorney’s office now considered this case closed.
Ramone Jamarr Alston (left) and Pierre Je Bron Moore (right). Photos via Orange County Sheriff’s Office.