By Mehgaan Jones
The defense attorney representing a 19-year-old man on trial for the July murder of his baby daughter's mother, contended in a preliminary hearing in Clayton County Magistrate Court Thursday, that Errol Alexis Moore was enraged, and acted in self-defense when he strangled, and killed, Janell Aaron, 20.
Police said Moore and Aaron were involved in a heated argument over her cell phone. Moore later told police he killed Aaron and hid her body, but he later led authorities to the place where he hid it.
Magistrate Judge Daphne Walker has bound Moore's case over to Clayton County Superior Court on charges of murder, aggravated assault, and concealing the death of another. Moore's bond hearing is set for Dec. 10, at 8 a.m.
Moore is accused of strangling Aaron, and then wrapping her body inside two comforters, placing it in a blue container, and putting it in Sherwood Cemetery, in Jonesboro, according to an arrest warrant in the case.
Aaron's remains were not located until Moore led authorities to the body on Oct. 7, and confessed to the killing, according to police.
During Thursday's preliminary hearing, Clayton County Assistant District Attorney Jason Green represented the prosecution. Moore was represented, in court, on Thursday by Attorney Dennis Scheib.
Scheib argued that Moore should have called police after he choked Aaron, but said he killed her in a moment of rage and self-defense, on July 15.
"So my client is saying she [Aaron] approached him with a knife .. .and I believe that happened," said Scheib, after the hearing. He added that Moore's mistake was that he should have called the police.
According to authorities, the knife was never found.
"There was an altercation between Janell and another woman ... so she has a history of violence?" Scheib asked the sole witness to testify in the preliminary hearing, Clayton County Police Detective Tom Martin. Martin confirmed that there was a report on file on Aaron, regarding the incident with a woman.
Detective Martin also testified that, on July 15, Moore became upset with Aaron because she was seeing another man. He explained that the couple got into an argument, engaged in sexual intercourse, and continued to argue until Moore "grabbed her around her neck and choked her until blood came out of her mouth."
"Moore said that her body was shaking ... She was having convulsions ... He said he continued to choke her," Detective Martin said.
Martin added that Moore told police he came back two days after killing Aaron, to move her body to the cemetery. "He cleaned the floor up [of the apartment where the incident occurred] ... put her in a container ... and put her in the woods," said Martin. He testified that Moore said he then gathered his clothing, and her cell phone and put them in a dumpster.
Authorities arrested Moore when he voluntarily came to police. Martin said, on the stand, that during the four hours of interrogation, Moore's story changed a few times, until he confessed to Aaron's murder, and led police to her body.
"He drew a map to the location of her body," Martin testified. "Her body was decomposed pretty bad," the detective added. Authorities identified Aaron before the autopsy was complete by a ring she was wearing, a tattoo, and evidence of surgery she had had for scoliosis, according to Martin.
"The final identification was obtained through dental records," he continued.
In a concluding statement, Jason Green, the prosecutor, said the claim of self-defense is not supported the amount of evidence that is present.